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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas - Brouwerij Het Anker

Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas

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BA SCORE
89
very good

660 Ratings
THE BROS
70
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 660
Reviews: 440
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 14.65%


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
Ratings: 660 | Reviews: 440 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of marburg
marburg

Michigan

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

Glistening varnished wood look with a blistering tan head. A slick, not-quite-sweet assortment of licorice fragrances. Jagermeister, plum skins, dried roots, and cooked brown sugar highlight the aroma. Baked woodchips and sweetened caramel malt are initial notable flavors on the palate. Allspice and cardamom, some roasted chocolate, and rich, dark pumpernickel. Just spicy enough to fit the Xmas beer mold but not wild or outlandish. A solid holiday beer for anyone.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2004 22:10:14 | More by marburg
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Boilermaker88

California

4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stopped by Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena yesterday and was like a kid in a candy store. Christmas Ales, foreign and domestic, graced the taps, among them this offering from Brouwerij Het Anker. I got a pint in a Grottenbier chalice (and got to keep the glass) as part of a Christmas special. Gouden Carolus Noël had a turbid mahogany color with a dense, creamy tan head that left great sheets of lace clinging to the glass. Very attractive.
The nose was an enticing mix of fruity sweetness, hearty malt notes, and a variety of spices. Plums, dates, and raisins represented the fruits while nutmeg, cinnamon, anise and, more faintly, some clove headed the spice list. The alcohol content barely registered with just a faint hint of how potent this Christmas brew was.
The taste was immediately sweet thanks to the flavors of candied plums and raisins all drizzled with caramel. Some bready malt flavor made this seem like a liquid Christmas cookie. Prominently figuring in the flavor parade were nutmeg and licorice. Cinnamon and clove played a supporting role and added to the wonderful complexity of this holiday beer. The anise taste built through the finish. The finish had a slightly peppery bite. The alcohol content made its presence felt with a warming burst in the throat and belly. The feel was full, rich and creamy.
Overall, this was a wonderful winter warmer, even on a warm afternoon in SoCal. Deliciously complex and great to look at, Gouden Carolus Noël is one holiday ale worth going to great lengths to try.

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2004 17:00:40 | More by Boilermaker88
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BeerBuilder

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mahogany in color with a creamy tan head. Nice lacing after each sip. The aroma is malty sweet and spicy. It has a anise and nutmeg aroma, along with a bit of mint. It has some oily, resiny aromas as well. The flavor is malty with the nutmeg and anise. It has a hidden Anchor OSA flavor to it. Kinda resiny and piney. It is smooth and creamy. It is medium-full in body and very easy drinking for its strength. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2004 01:50:11 | More by BeerBuilder
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mickeymac

California

4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's, it's reddish-brown with a thick tan head. The smell is a tantalizing mix of dark ripe fruit, sugary candy, and spice. The taste of plum and grape bounce off anise and hints of cardamom. It has a a nice, chunky mouthfeel. This was my first beer of the evening (on an empty stomach). Neither the smell or taste hinted at the 10.5% abv. However, the warming effect and rush of alcohol to the head told a different story. The whole affair seems like a nice take-off on Grand Cru of the Emperor. It's most certainly another winner from Anker.

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2004 06:07:41 | More by mickeymac
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truthbrew

Minnesota

3.43/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2004 vintage, served at 54F. Pours a crimson with brown hints, unstable brown fluffy (but short lived) head. Dominate aroma is anise which almost covers the alcohol. I am not particularily fond of anise, but this beer did improve and it seemed to blend as the bottle slowly emptied (wow... 750ml of 10.5% abv can take a bit). Feels chewy thick in the mouthfeel. More anise on the exhale.

I am a fan of all other Het Anker beers, so hard to fault this for anything other than personal preference, which makes this review harder. Will review again in a few weeks then again in a year or two, but this I will need to warm up to a bit. A great candidate for cellaring and I'm sure that the strong anise will die down after a long cold conditioning.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2004 03:24:43 | More by truthbrew
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putnam

Michigan

4.58/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed at 65 deg. F.
Mahogany liquid with reddish, sour tan-colored welts of foam on top. The aromas are a classically proportioned array of black breads, butter, birchroot, brown sugar, licorice, chestnuts and caramelized blue berries. On the palate it is quite hedonistic, with a clear, warming, alcoholic richness that glows like dying embers. Rising from this there is an array of spiced incense and perfumes that recall Turkish open markets: Cardamom, coffee, brandied raisins, tamarind paste and fried dough. Intermixed with this exotic rush of sensations, there is a thread of smoldering pine. A Russian has visited this Anatolian campfire it seems.
This is a gorgeous beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2004 01:59:08 | More by putnam
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Truh

New Hampshire

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

Spied a partridge in a pear tree with this one on 11/26/2004. 10.5-oz.-looking stemmed glass pour at the right-on ACPH.

Just a hinted swirl of carbonation to begin, with more piling up on the edges. Claret, thick brown hue that echoes. Juicy plums, raisins, and juniper on nose, with a touch of port-like sweetness. Lovely malt gush with a brown sugar melt on the tongue. Lucious overall, and one I would gladly order up continuously throughout the holiday season, and beyond.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2004 21:59:35 | More by Truh
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WesWes

New York

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

The beer pours a deep dark brown color with a 1/4" tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a dry, yet quite fruity scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with many spices and a yeasty finish. The taste is good. It has a sweet and fruity malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry, creamy, and a bit warm. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good brew. It has excellent flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2004 17:28:55 | More by WesWes
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beerceller99

Louisiana

4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

75 cl. bottle from 2003. Pours a garnet color with an off white three finger head. Smells of black pepper, vanilla, mint, and caramel with a whiff of alcohol. Has a creamy yet lively mouthfeel. Medium to heavy bodied. Has a complex fruit, spice flavor of plums, apples, cinnamon, and black pepper, among others. Finishes with a nice peppery alcohol tang.

Another excellent brew from Anker.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2004 07:47:45 | More by beerceller99
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dougnboston

Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best holiday beers made. It sells out very quickly, so if you are lucky enough to find one, grab it.

I've visited the brewery. There are about five people working there and they can't make a lot of beer. It's a wonderful thing that their beers actually are distributed in the US.

This beer is warm, soft feeling yet powerful in taste.

Take the time to find one every year.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2004 02:51:06 | More by dougnboston
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Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

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

Cloudy dark brown, good off-white film, fully lasting. Spicy nose, christmas spruce, minty. Mild alcohol comes through, but you’d never guess 10%. Spiced old ale reminiscent. Very yeasty, cloves, maybe chocolate, christmas cake fruitiness+prunes+dates and other dark fruits, leafy, coffeeish. Complex like most of its kind. Red licorice and toffee malt sweetness, very tea-like in mouth, lemon notes. Fluffy heavy body, high carbonation...Marvellous christmas beer, stylish and flavorful. Props to you Larry!

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2004 17:07:53 | More by Rastacouere
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GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

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

The beer poured a clear golden deep amber with a tan small bubbled head which was compact and laced the glass.

The aroma was banana and fruity with a substantial malt backbone and complexity.

The flavor was malty and fruity with more banana and a very complex maltiness that becomes alcoholic.

The finish was dry but left a malty impression long into the aftertaste. The body was medium.

750 ml bottle. I've had this puppy in cold storage for quite some time just waiting for the right chance to open it.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2004 23:43:41 | More by GCBrewingCo
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NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured, it's deep ruby body is just slightly hazy and appears almost brown beneath its full head of frothy tan foam. The head retention is quite good and it leaves some very nice lace as well. The nose is rich and exciting but not overtly bold, revealing more and more of itself with each sniff. Cola (cardamom) is evident upfront, backed by a note of sweet black licorice (from star anise) and some prune-like fruit. Nutmeg and cinnamon creep in along with some tropical fruit, the suggestion of caramel and cocoa, and a splash of thin alcohol. It's lightly tingly across the tongue with an exceptionally fine, median carbonation and a medium light body. In the flavor, fruit is initially suggested with a combination of berries, cherries, pluums, and tropical notes that quickly become drenched in cola syrup. Chocolatey notes approach but hesitate to actually make an entrance; and sweet anise becomes dominant at the swallow. Alcohol skirts around the edges as well, always present but without ever really making itself known. It finishes dry but with the suggestion of sweetness, similar to molasses; and with a light dusting of ginger and peppery spiciness. Quite remarkable! As complex as it is, it's actually very focused. An impressively spiced holiday ale that deserves a place at the dinner table: working equally well as an apertif, mid-meal accompanyment with a wide variety of dishes, balancing dessert beer, after-dinner drink or night-cap. A brilliant diamond in the rough!

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2004 01:39:01 | More by NeroFiddled
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cokes

Wisconsin

4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby-glazed brown under a foam tan dome of slow departure.
Nose ripe with raspberries and plums, cut by cinnamon and nutmeg, and carried through with a port alcohol essence.
Begins quite sweet, with candied berries, plum, and figs. Spicing is ever-present, but intermitent. Backdrop of cola-syrup (my sole complaint here). Pockets of clove and nutmeg. Cinnamon is fairly subdued, but may be the most consistently visable of the trio. Liquorice and molasses hues gain prominance as this gains temperature. As it reaches room temp, a persuasive mocha note it spot-lit. The finish is Noble and light herb bittered. But hopping is of little regard here. Some mellow brandy alcohol ebbs are noticed late, but the strength is mystically hidden for the most part.
A full bodied brew, given levity by its airiness. Very drinkable. Though not necessarily quickly.
A good one here.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2004 21:53:16 | More by cokes
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Crosling

Colorado

4.63/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fascinating label on this one. Santa riding through the air with Gouden Carolus prominantly displayed in Gold lettering. A definate "eye catcher" in the bottle collection.

Pours with an amazing color. Purple with ascents of yellow, orange and red. Beautiful color, it glows in the light. However, a pretty lousy Belgian head.

Smells like fruit punch.

WOW! Sour red grapes, cherries, red licorice, raisins and caramel up front. Finishes with a somewhat sour, sweet malt and chocolate-caramel combination with a hint of alcohol. Tastes unbelieveable!

Probably my last Belgian Noel for the year (sadness), but what a one to end with! This is one hell of a beer! Can't wait for next year.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2004 06:11:10 | More by Crosling
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BierReise

Florida

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

75cl Corked bottle No date. Poured a hazy deep amber color with a thin tan head which settled to a thin film. Aroma has a sugary sweetness to it, some bready malt and fruit overtones. Alcohol shows up as it warms. Has a medium body that is smooth with a crispy finish. Flavor is sweet with malt almost barley style. Some fruit and a bit of spiciness also detectable. Overall not a bad seasonal.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2004 21:08:07 | More by BierReise
Photo of jahred
jahred

Illinois

3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Had a glass of the Gouden Carolus Noel at my winter beer tasting with friends. Pours a very red color with slight brown tones and a medium-to-small head.

The scent? I wasn't able to describe the strong scent of this beer. Something sweet. Maybe anise? Licorice? Some other spice. It's very noticeable, but I wasn't able to come up with the right words for a decent descrption. Interesting, that's for sure.

The taste is minty, with licorice and anise tones. As it warmed, the best word I came up with was "meaty." Not really sure what that means or how it applies to beer, but as with the scent, this beer really confused me. The mouthfeel, as expected with something described as meaty, was quite heavy.

Though very interesting, this beer was very hard to drink. Maybe it would be easier if consumed with some red meat, but it's certainly not a sipping beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2004 21:49:02 | More by jahred
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nomad

Kansas

4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark beer with reddish corners, it poured out with little head or lace. Oh well. Smelled like an artisanal laundry list: chocolate, dark malt, licorice, cherries, sour esters, apricot. Had that only-Belgians-could-do aspect of a yeasty funk covered in malt that has been vigorously chewed by attenuation. Complex without being muddled, this beer is wonderful for its immediately comforting profile with obvious connections to wintry aromas. Christmas in a bottle, indeed.

Tastes of dark malt with some undistinguished fruity flavors, most like cherries in a sense, yet pleasing in its estery fruit punch mix. Shows lots of alcohol with opening, yet never noxious because its complex in a winey and big Beligan way. A chocolate-like earthiness supports the whole profile. For me, the moderate mouthfeel comes across a little too low, and does need a little carbonation.

A tasty beer, and one of the best Christmas beers. A big, strong, and impressive beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2004 19:35:12 | More by nomad
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Weissenheimer

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With its very dark brown color and deep reddish highlights, this beer reminds me of Corsendonk Christmas Ale. It has a large, deep fawn head with a melted marshmallow sheen. It leaves sparse, sudsy spatters of lacing on the glass as I drink. The smell is heavy with licorice and anise, and the first taste almost bowls me over with them. The finish contains lots of molasses; it's not very sweet molasses, but neither is it bitter like the Anchor OSA. I think that's the best thing this beer has going for it: it's heavy, but it toes the line between bitter and sweet so well that it manages not to be overly cloying.

It takes me a lot of examination to figure out the procession of tastes in this one, mostly because the licorice/anise wallop covers up some of the secondary tastes. The first stage is well-rounded, and when I look beyond the blast of licorice I see that this comes from the overtones of bitter caramel and syrupy fruitiness. The second stage is highly carbonated and laden with anise. The finish is extremely dry and tingly, with a smoldering finish way on the back of my tongue. Again, there's some molasses in there, but it's almost smoky in its texture. It's also tangy but not overly sugary or cloying; it reminds me of bitter apricots. The bottle says that it ages well, and given the tastes I just experienced I'll bet that's true. I plan to get a few bottles of this and open them next year to see if the hard edges on this beer have been rounded out. If so, it will move up in my estimation from very good to excellent.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2003 06:19:33 | More by Weissenheimer
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CRJMellor

Arkansas

4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pourer a very dark brown/maaroon with orange highlights. Had an enormous that disappeared quickly but left alcohol tannins along the side of the glass and lots of lace. Aroma is dark fruits, figs, dates and like along with lighter citrus fruits, orange or lemon. Belgian Candy sugar also present with just a hint of bubble gum. Taste is very pleasant and warming, mouthfeel is classic Belgian, slightly warming and alcoholic yet also very effervescent. Flavor is somewhat sour but also has toffee and caramel hints.
Very good brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2003 02:38:16 | More by CRJMellor
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drewbage

California

4.33/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on draft at Lucky Baldwin's and at the Stuffed Sandwich.

Deep Amber brew with a white head that slowly disappears over time.

Aroma is big with malt and fruit - red apples, raisins, grapes, pineapples stewed with spices.

Flavor is caramel, anise, toffee and peaches with a long chewy body.

The finish grows drier as spices take over finishing with the growing heat of ginger combined with alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

12-14-2003 07:26:21 | More by drewbage
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ecoboy

Rhode Island

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

How hard is it to let something you've never tried sit in the cellar? I drank this one on the fresh side, to be sure.

Off white head made of bubbles of mixed size. Coppery hue in the light, with obvious sediment.

Biscuity malt start to the taste and mouthfeel. Malt beginning gives way to dried sour fruit notes and surprisingly clean finish. Round bit of syrup in the mouthfeel. No spice. Super complex, super warm, alcohol content very noticeable.

Recommended at any age.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2003 17:30:54 | More by ecoboy
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ToolHead

Denmark

4.8/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 75 cl corked bottle. Poured into a Leffe chalice.

Dark reddish-brown, nice beige/tan head w/ good retention.
Enormous, warm, spicy, in-your-face aroma full of the best Christmas has to offer. And then some.
Gorgeously balanced taste; the powerful, richly warming, and complex spiciness is kept beautifully in check by a nice, bitter finish. Mouthfeel and drinkability are through the roof; I had to pace myself in order not to finish this one too quickly. Wow.

This is one of the best beers I've tasted, and certainly the best winter seasonal, easily surpassing even the magnificent Brøckhouse Julebryg 2003. All in all, not the worst beer to kick off my BA reviewing career... :-)

(I cannot wait to see how this one ages; I'm afraid I'll have to ask my girlfriend to hide the key to the cellar, lest I prematurely break open one or more of the eight bottles of Gouden Carolus Christmas I've stashed there...)

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2003 14:35:00 | More by ToolHead
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ngandhi

Illinois

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

Tawny port and alcohol nose that opens to a wildly sticky sweetness reminiscent of toffee and candy corn. This beer is held together by a solid bittering and light graininess that isn't as yeasty as most Belgians. The finish has a touch of alcohol and spice, perhaps licorice. Gouden Carolus is an angry mother -- punishing, bitter, and firm, but ultimately warm and sweet.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2003 02:15:08 | More by ngandhi
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RoyalT

Ohio

4.8/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Deep, rich reddish-brown in color with a rather smallish head that dissipated quickly.

Smell - This one is a boat load of dark flavors. Tobacco, plums, and licorice come to mind at first. There's also some overripe apples rolled in cinnamon. All of this is laced with big alcohol notes and a small yeast base.

Taste - The licorice leads the way here, trumping the sweet fruity notes and making the yeast difficult to detect. The alcohol is big as well. Belgian Sambucca?

After about 30 minutes, once the ale warms, the dark malt and yeast come out of hiding just enough to fit the style. The alcohol though is still quite noticeable, even after developing a bit of a buzz.

Mouthfeel - A hefty medium in the body and a bit on the dry side.

Drinkability - This one is a real sipper. You have to be a big fan of exotic ales to enjoy this one. It is like nothing that I've ever had before and markedly different even from the other Gouden's that I've popped. Don't leave this one under a novice's Christmas tree, but with a 4+ average and only 22 reviews a BA Buddy might really appreciate it.

I also highly recommend drinking the bulk of this bottle after it warms to almost room temperature. Anything much colder than that and you'll miss out on the modest yeast flavors.

Comments - My 2003 vintage was at 10.0 not the 10.5 listed on the site. Also, the bottle says that this will age well, and I think that it would indeed improve from a year of cellaring.

Update - I cellared a 2005 for three years and popped it open tonight in May 2008 for no real reason. Boy oh boy I was right about the cellaring. This beer is amazing. The Appearance, with its never-ending lacing, was gorgeous and inviting. The Smell is a deep, wicked blend of darkish sweets, rich malts, and light yeast, the Taste is an explosion of huge malt and a plethora of fruits especially dates and raisins, the Mouthfeel is full and lively carbonated, and the Drinkability is non-stop. One of the best Christmas time beers I've ever had.

PS: LOL at my original 2003 comment that only 22 BAs had reviewed it. It's like over 200 now.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2003 05:05:40 | More by RoyalT
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 660 ratings.