1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

686 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 686
Reviews: 445
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 14.9%
Wants: 20
Gots: 33 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas Alström Bros
Ratings: 686 | Reviews: 445 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bonsreeb85
4.63/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

X-mas 08

Lasting tan head over a drk brown body.

To sum up the smell: Spicy, malty and rich. Lots of drk fruits with assorted holiday spices, run soaked raisins and whiskey notes.

Flavor you ask?? malt biz-omb! Super sweet at first followed my lots of spice. The alcohol is pretty well hidden. Very rich and did I mention delicious?

THe feel is full bodied but not heavy in the slightest. Not as super carbonated as many other Dark Belgian ales, but isn't flat either. the texture is super silky and slightly syrupy.

Wow, I gotta say that nearly 2 years did wonders for this beer. Very balanced and delcious. Another winner from GC. Cheers!

bonsreeb85, Jul 02, 2010
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)
A- This beer has a deep dense brown body with a fizzy sounding light tan creamy head that beads lacing on the glass with each sip. There is a sea of microbubbles that glide up the side of the glass.
S- This beer has a brown sugar aroma with hints of cider and a slight woody note that takes on more of a cardboard quality as it warms but in a pleasant way.
T- The slightly sweet dark toffee flavor has brown sugar notes and some brown malt qualities about it with a soft alcohol note. The dry caramel flavor blends with a cider hint and a dry spice flavor in the finish grows as the beer warms but still remains soft and mysterious.
M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a very fine fizz that fills out the mouthfeel with each swallow. There is no real alcohol heat noticed.
D- This beer has a dry but fruity quality to the flavor and it rich but well blended in its complexity with flavors working well together. The alcohol is very well hidden.

rhoadsrage, May 26, 2010
Photo of DaveHS
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin, dark tan head. Almost no lacing. Aromas of dark stewed fruit, anise, chocolate covered cherries, pumpernickel and the obligatory nutmeg and cinnamon. Strong flavors of brown sugar, overripe banana, caramel, and anise. A flavor reminiscent of "circus peanut" candy in the back palate. The body is milky and rich. It seems to melt into the palate, creating a lingering finish. Very pleasant fresh, but I prefer bottles with a few years on them.

DaveHS, May 23, 2010
Photo of voteforgoat
2.7/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

From Winter 2009, drank May 2010

A - thick tan foam, almost black beer, with ruby highlights in the light

B - smells sweet, and slightly like bread dough, can smell the alcohol. Gf says it smells like Rodenbach, which totally surprised me, but decided there's some truth to that. We both agree it tastes nothing like it of course.

T - sweet taste, can taste the alcohol, malty, spice and gingerbread flavor

M- medium thickness, coats the tongue, lightly carbonated once the foam settles.

D-not as drinkable as other Gouden Carolus I've had ( a little cloying) but I'm still enjoying it. Have a bottle in the cellar. We'll see how it ages.

addendum - by the end of the bottle, I was not enjoying it much at all. Quite cloying, a little bit like cough sirup or herbal.
Really lingering taste still hours later. Unpleasant.

voteforgoat, May 07, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Quite a good look as it pours; nearly black with a healthy tan head which recedes a bit too quickly. Not so much lace.

S - It has a somewhat minor aroma, mostly malty, with nuances of caramel, citric-7up , spicy alcohol, and a bit of hazelnut-cocoa.

T - Flavor-wise, it has a lot in common with a Doppelbock. Raisin and dark bread dominate the palette, punctuated by a spicy alcohol twang. As it airs out, the malt acquires suggestions of nutty cocoa fused with plum and prune flavors, anise and cardamom, and perhaps a bit of nectarine as well. Though the alcohol component is a discernible flavor characteristic, it does not drink 'hot', and generally it hides the ABV fairly well.

M - Softly carbonated, with a big, rich vinous feel to it. It is, however, not dry or astringent in any measure; indeed, it is quite the opposite.

D - This brew is very nice, not tremendously challenging, but very easily appreciated and enjoyed.

ktrillionaire, May 03, 2010
Photo of pzrhsau
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice little bottle i sat on for about 5 months and my will to let it sit any longer broke.
Appearance: Nice rich brown color with hints of orange and a superior head accenting the cloudy beer.
Smell: Very spicy and malty with scents like cinnamon and other christmas spices we expect from a beer during the holidays.
Taste: Good balance of flavor and alcohol. Very warm and filling with a good bready spiciness from the yeast.
Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Very drinkable for such a big beer. Smooth and full with a good carbonation.

pzrhsau, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of chaz01
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on draught at a special Belgium event at Chappy's in Dayton -- served in a special 6 oz wine-like tasting glass.

A: Dark brown amber with a brown head and some nice lacing.

S: Dark fruit flavors, plums and dates.

T: Initially a bit of chocolate flavor that turns into black licorice taste. I don't normally like licorice, but it works well in this beer. Fruity and spicy tones such as plums, dates and raisins.

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated.

D: Delicious on it's own, or would go well as a dessert beer. One of my favorites Belgium Christmas beers, what a pleasant surprise to see it available in the Spring.

chaz01, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a brown color with about a finger and a half of off white foam. Moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, some bready malts, and booze. Maybe a hint of some spices as well.

t - Tastes mostly of dark fruits, especially raisins and dates.I also got a little bit of banana, as well as the taste of sweet malts and a tiny hint of booze, but not as much as in the smell. Pretty nice.

m - A sticky sweet taste with a medium body and little carbonation. A little alcohol taste to it but considering the ABV not too bad.

d - I thought this was an above average Belgian. I enjoyed the sweet smell and taste of dark fruits and sweet malts, and would definitely try this again.

mdfb79, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of adamette
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Live review. Poured from the 750ML bottle that I purchased yesterday for $8.89 at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor. "Belgian Ale" printed on top of right side of label and the following code printed on left side of label: 0970 but I am not sure what that means. Poured into my silver rimmed Westvleteren goblet.

A Light brown creamy head over dark brown body that glows a nice mahogany in front of direct light. 4.0

S Some dark fruits but a nice sweet malt predominates along with a warmth of alcohol to the nose. The dark fruits that I smell here are similar to that of the Carolus D'Or (Van de Keiser) but they are more nicely balanced in this beer. Welcoming, warming, interesting, inviting. 4.0

T Just as the smell suggested, the dark fruits are nicely balanced with sweet malt, warm alcohol and a nice Belgian yeast taste that all works very nicely. I don't know about the "Noel" aspect of the beer but I could enjoy these every day of the year. 4.5

M Big beer with high ABV, sweet malt, dark fruits and Belgian yeast tastes competing for the taster's attention. There is an apsect of syrupy stickiness as well. The significant, creamy head adds a welcome smoothness to all of it too. I cannot imagine a better, more interesting feel. 5.0

D This is one hell of a big beer so I will only be drinking this bottle (which I likely should have shared with someone else!). The style, the ABV and the sheer bigness of this beer drives down the drinkability. All of that being said, this is a delicious beer so repeated sips were a pleasure. 3.5

Notes: The final in my short series of Het Anker beers, likely my favorite.

adamette, Jan 29, 2010
Photo of Lunch
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 330ml bottle, purchased at Wells in Baltimore, MD, back in winter of 2006/2007, into my Gouden Carolus goblet at an appropriate temperature (01/21/10).

A: Pours a murky, dark, mahogany brown with slight faint ruby hues and two fingers of a creamy off-white head with excellent retention and lacing.

S: Pleasant aroma of dark fruits, blueberries, Belgian yeast, raisins, plums, and clove.

T: Raisins and blueberries hit first with lushes layers of dark fruit and an estery Belgian yeast. This beer has aged nicely, maturing into a much more well-rounded and balanced Belgian Strong Dark Ale with nuances in its flavor profile coming more to the surface.

M: Medium to thick-bodied with creamy, smooth carbonation. I found this to be the best part of the beer.

D: Easy to drink, especially since the 10.5% abv is well hidden, but the richness of the flavor and rather thick mouthfeel limit its consumption to just a couple bottles.

Overall this is a very nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale with a winter seasonal flair. With about three years of age under its belt, this beer as matured nicely and seems superior to it fresh. Recommended.

Lunch, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of rustymoore
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours an deep brown with large creamy tan that seems to last forever with excellent lacing. Easily best part about this beer.

S: Interesting but nothing that could really pick out...I think there might be too much going on in the aroma.

T: Ok but really just tastes more like a mediocre Belgian rather than much of a Christmas beer. Very sweet (too much so in my opinion) somewhat watery with several fruit notes coming through as well as caramel.

M: Somewhat flat after I expected a good amount of carbonation.

D: Definitely wouldn't recommend more than a sampling of this...too sweet.

rustymoore, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of Buttermaker
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not much on the nose but a nice creamy head. Taste: Holy Caramel Bomb! This Belgium Ale tastes like a double bock crossed with a root beer. It's still very drinkable, especially on a cold December evening. There's plenty of depth (cinnamon, prunes, banana), but I prefer something with a little more balance. (I'm not sure they used hops at all.) They do great job of disguising the 10.5% ABV, it's wonderfully warming but not at all harsh.

Recommended music pairing: Ray Charles - That Spirit of Christmas

Buttermaker, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of ianjsullivan
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: 750 ml poured into a Duvel chalice

A: Reddish brown with a nice thick brownish white fluffy head. Nice lacing and retention. When held up to the light the color is red like Santa's suit, nice carbonation can be seen.

S: Malt and sweet spice, fruity, banana and kiwi.

T: Quite a complex amount of flavors, malt and bread yeast, fruity notes on a pleasing long finish. Alcohol is present at the end, but, over all, nicely blended.

M: The ample carbonation stops the beer from being cloying. It beings creamy and finishes with cream, only at the end turning to a crisp clean.

D: 10.5 does not make this beer one to be consumed in earnest.

Overall: I don't know if they have changed the recipe since the Bros reviewed it, but, it was a great beer for me. There is a lot going on, and it could be restrained a bit better, however, the flavors do work together, particularly in the finish. There is a bit of sweet and alcohol that is not blended completely out by the hit of spice at the end. Overall though, one of the better noels I've had this year.

ianjsullivan, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of rebel1771
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark reddish brown color with a tan head that fades quickly.

S: Banana nut bread right up front along with candied fruit and a malty twang.

T: Bread flavors start out with a heavy alcohol kick. Heavy candied fruit flavors with a decent malt body finished with a spicy banana note.

D: This is one tasty brew, along with one heck of a heavy hitter. A couple of these and you'll be wearing the old wobbly boot.

rebel1771, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.23/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

0.33l bottle poured in a chalice.

Decent Belgium Dark Strong Ale. Nice spicy and fruity perfume.

A: Nice Brown/Amber color. Quite clean
S: Dark fruits (plum and grapes) and spices
T: Strong. ABV is high and you can fell it. Sweet toffee. Belgium yeasts (less relevant). Rum. Smells better than tastes
M: Sweet in the beginning and bitter in the end. Soft carbonation and strong alcohol taste
D: Low drinkability. Too strong taste for me. Might be a good beer but overloaded me...

eduardolinhalis, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of DaveJanssen
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slpit a 750mL two ways, poured into Russian River globes.

Ar: Super fruity an floral, plum, rich fruit dark heavy grape, *licorice, rummy spice, alcohol, raisin, caramel and toffee, spice, chocolate, overall a rich, sweet and full aroma

Ap: Low light tan head, hints of lace, good retention, clear brown with red highlights

T: Rummy, heavy toffee, plum and raisin, sweet and fruity, caramel, light whiskey spice/oak, dried fruit, light herbal hop in aftertaste, complex, chocolate, a rum and coke like sweet and spice quality, unique

M: Full wet and sweet, alc warmth but clean alcohol and appropriate, low/medium carbonation

O: great sipping beer, very rich and sweet, nice spiciness, complex, very quad-like

DaveJanssen, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
3.33/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this from a tap at the Map Room into a chalice.

The beer pours dark brown with a light tan decent retention and lacing.

The aroma is light with a little spice, same thing with the taste.

The feel is ok, the drinkability is limited.

Overall, not a great the feel is to light, the taste is light and too much spice.

jrallen34, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of CMW
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark brown. Much darker than I expected, almost like a porter. The head is at least two inches and tan in color. Retention is massive as it is taking me at least five minutes to let it settle enough to drink.

S - Smell is dominated by candied dark fruits, yeast, and alcohol.

T - The sweeter is definitely noticeable up front. The taste reminds me of candied figs and raisins. After the sweetness fades, the malt is noticeable along with the yeast. There is some balance but the sweetness is definitely more powerful. Slight warming in the end.

M - Medium carbonation but this has more of a syrupy feel.

D - I like this beer quite a bit I will definitely buy one again next year.

CMW, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of ritzkiss
4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml brought by my dad from Alberta, shared with him. Pours a cola brown with a finger plus of head that slowly dies down, doesn't leave any lacing down the glass.

Nose is hints of ginger and anise, a nice toffe-ish malt base. Intriguing, unique.

This is a really tasty yet unique Christmas ale. Ginger and anise play a major role in the spicing giving it almost a cola flavour, nice plum fruits coming from the yeast, well attenuated body without being overly thick - medium mouthfeel, a hint of spiciness, a light sweetness weaving through to balance all the spices and the light drying in the finish. Just a hint of booze, especially as it warms but nothing distracting, just warming.

Very pleasant, another winner from Het Anker. Not your typical Christmas fare but I would gladly grab for this one again next Yule season.

ritzkiss, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of bort11
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml corked bottle, poured into a St. Bernardus goblet. This fizzy dark tan head that is quick to recede. Small spots float on the surface with a pencil thin ring around the edge. Color is a dark ruby red. There are nice refracting effects when held to the light. Not the most visually fascinating Belgian, so we'll see how the rest stands up.

Smell has that distinct musty Belgian yeast aroma, but there are some some fruity notes as well. I'm going to go with a dark cherry. Taste brings in more spices. There is definitely some orange peel, and there is a little cinnamon and ginger.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for me, but the carbonation is pretty crisp. I think is would go with more body and less carbonation, but that's me. For a 10.5 it goes down really fast. There is a mild alcohol burn, but the spices keep it shadowed.

bort11, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 release, on-tap 12/29/09 at Julian's in Providence, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a bright crimson color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, Belgian yeast, dark fruit and some spice.

T: The taste is fruity with strong flavors of cherries, other dark fruits and brown sugar. Then a bready Belgian yeast and hearty malt character follow. The hops presence is mild but complementary. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean for the style.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, deceptively strong kick, good representation of style, this is a nice stronger Belgian-style beer to drink for a while until it starts to catch up with you.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of Absumaster
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown/reddish beer with a faint head.

Smell is malty with strong notes of candisugar. A spicy addition of what we think is staranise and coriander.

Taste is malty and sweet. The beer is syrupy without being overly sticky. The spices are a little less present than the smell would make me suspect. Some Christmas beers have a thin mouthfeel, but this beer is full-bodied. The mix of the malt and the spices combined with the strong caramel malt base make this a great Christmas beers.

Absumaster, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of StJamesGate
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours emerald with a loose tawny fast-fading head that leaves only trailers of lace. Nose is strawberries and clove with some bubblegum and caramel - mouthwatering! Light chocolate and all spice up front, Belgian yeast is there, an ester pop, and tutti frutti to finish. A tight ginger beer linger. Chewy and fizzy with plenty of burn.

Some interesting flavors but too hot and estery to be very drinkable.

StJamesGate, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of hdofu
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

hdofu, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of biegaman
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

biegaman, Dec 23, 2009
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 686 ratings.