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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

466 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 466
Hads: 782
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 19.6%
Wants: 30
Gots: 78 | 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: 466 | Hads: 782
Photo of flagmantho
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip. My bottle indicates 10% ABV rather than the above-noted 10.5%.

Appearance: deep, rich, hazy brown with one finger of tenacious light tan foam head. Quite attractive.

Smell: sweet, rich & complex dark fruity malt aromas: plum, loose tobacco, cherry, pear; quite a delicious aroma indeed.

Taste: flavor has much of those aforementioned characteristics but is at the same time brighter and mustier. The flavor starts off with a bit of a dusty flatness and then morphs into a brighter (though still understated) tartness at the side of the tongue. Both of these states readily complement and amplify the tasty fruit flavors. I'm loving this brew.

Mouthfeel: plenty of body and an extremely smooth, well-crafted creaminess. An excellent experience.

Drinkability: I've a hard choice here, as it is hard for me to rate something with 10+% ABV as very drinkable. But I love the flavor, so here goes: I would go out of my way to have this beer again.

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Photo of corby112
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a large forhty head. Very malty, spicy aroma with hints of dark fruit, chocolate and pepper. Sweet matly alcohol taste up front with a dry, peppery finish with hints of raisin and dark cherries.

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

Enjoyed at The Moan & Dove, Amherst, MA. Presented in a almost straight-sided Saison DuPont glass.

Arrives with a 1/4" beige head above the dark caramel-hued brew. Head is somewhat short-lived, yet exhibits good lacing. Aroma is sweet malts with an alcohol tinge. Taste follows the nose, with spicy Belgian notes. Mouthfeel and drinkability both excellent. Excellent holiday brew.

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Photo of beertunes
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in 10oz glass and shared with some friends. Poured a clean, clear reddish mahogany with a tall fluffy tan head that had very good retention and surprisingly light lacing.

The aroma was a very pleasing blend of malt, yeast and spices.The taste didn't have as much of a yeast taste, but the solid malt foundation supports the spiciness nicely.

The body was a bit lighter than I expected, but was very crisp with a dry finish. Drinkability was excellent, I may go grab a couple more bottles of this.

Overall, a very nice beer. Worth seeking out.

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

A: Chestnut brown without any sediment, tan head, little retention, nice lace.

S: Dark fruit, orange rind (Curacao?), pleasant non-descript spicing, floral hops, fruit bread with candied fruit. More alcohol as it warms.

T: Very fruity, candied fruit, dark fruit, bready, nice spicing, marmalade, slight bitterness, alcohol is remarkably subtle.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body, moderate carbonation, warming alcohol finish.

D: Quite drinkable for its strength.

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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 wordemupg
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!!

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.15/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown color; a little ruby on the edges. Poured a 2 finger tan head that dissipated to a bubbly skim. Patches of lace dotted the glass.

S: Caramel, candi sugar and spice. Plenty of alcohol.

T: Dark fruit and alcohol up front; a it like cough syrup. More malt character as the beer warmed. Dry and hot.

M: Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. Warming alcohol.

D: Between the sharp sweetness and the alcohol I didn't find it very drinkable.

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Photo of rudzud
3.61/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken at the Armsby Abbey's yearly Belgian Christmas on 12/15.

*2008 Vintage*

A - Nice dark mahongany pour with a one finger head that is super thick leaving massive side lacing along with big thick clumps atop the brew.

S - Mostly subdued muted notes of dark fruits and licorice. Really nice sugar notes.

T - Powerful almost salty fruit notes. Kind of weird but theres a light olive and prune/dark fruit notes. Very random flavours with that salty interplay but there is some nice strong earth notes.

M - Light body with low carbonation. Not syrupy at all. Just feels great on the tongue.

D - Tastes really good but that odd saltyness throws me off. Light mouthfeel is good but some aspects of this dark ale could be better.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer has a murky muddy brown appearance. A slight beige head sits on top. Lacing is only adequate. The aroma has a sweet rock candy like presence. Very inviting. A little malt as well and hints of alcohol. This beer is nicely put together. Many layered complexities emerge through the drinking process. First, the alcohol makes its presence. But that takes a backseat in no time at all as the waves of candy, fruit and malt take over. But then the alcohol comes back and stays for the duration. Signs of wood and yeast come and go as well. But the alcohol taste is the mainstay, and for that reason, I dock the drinkability and give it an avg. rating in that department. The lingering bitter alcohol taste is not pleasurable. Looking past that one minor fault, I'd say this is pretty good, but I'd not spend the big bucks for it again.

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Photo of pat61
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Brilliant ruby tinted chestnut under a 1” cream colored persistent foam collar that hugs the side of the glass.
S: Raisin, nutmeg, spice and faint chocolate.
T: Essence of fruitcake in a glass with dark dried fruit, light caramel, faint chocolate and a touch of anise and nutmeg.
F: A smooth, moussey texture supported by very fine soft carbonation to produce an airy, medium body.
O: A Belgian strong dark Christmas ale with a very fine creamy texture.

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

Best before “09.08.08”, I’ll guess that I have stored this bottle in my larder for one or two years.

The hazy liquid is deep amber-brown; the enormous beige compact foam sinks slowly while making a loud fizzing sound and leaving massive lacing.

The strong smell is drier and more hoppy than expected. Rich, spicy wine-like flavours hits the nose; matured sherry, fresh apricots, alcohol (quite a lot of it, actually), nutmeg, sweet raisins, hazelnuts and almonds and a touch of banana peels.

The first sip is sweet and mild like strawberry syrup, but then an alcoholic bomb explodes in my mouth: Bittersweet matured notes like red apples, peach, treacle, malt vinegar, caraway… The lasting aftertaste is sweet with matured notes of old strong wine and some minerals (a hint of iodine).

The carbonation is medium strong with lots and lots of minimal tickling bubbles. The liquid is smooth and a little bit thick.

Once again I must admit that this is a grand beer indeed. A little less carbonation and alcohol and it would have been perfect.

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

330ml Bottle - thanks to iguenard for this one

Appearance - The beer pours a dark brown colour with a huge size frothy dark beige coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some really good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 7 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, raisins, all spice, licorice

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a low amount of carbonation and it feels very creamy on the tongue. I can taste malts, raisins and licorice. There is also an earthiness and some notes of all spice. It ends with a malty dark fruit aftertaste.

Overall – You'd never know this beer had 10% alcohol. My bottle was best before Nov 2011, so I'm assuming it's been aged to some extent. It's so smooth and delicious. It's a perfect sipping beer for the holidays/colder weather.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle. Allowed this beer a few months in my cellar before opening.

Appearance- Yielded a spritzy head with bad retention but very good lacing consistant throughout the beer. Color was a russett, ruby, amber, dried blood color.

Smell- Bananas hit the snoot pretty hard with some tart red apples and sweet licorice to balance the chiquita onslaught.

Taste- This brew starts with bananas and then leads into some candied apples and caramel. The middle follows seemlessly with black licorice and slightly toasted malt. The finish is a tart yet sweet apple brandy.

Mouthfeel- Good carbonation and a pretty light body make this beer very enjoyable. It is nice to notice the flavors change with each degree rise in temperature. The licorice flavor becomes more prevalent as the bheer warms.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First beer of my Beer Nutz flight 5oz pour was $2.75

A - Very dark hazy brown with some tan colored head. Lacing is and head is nice on this one.

S - Smells of typical Belgium with dark fruits, mostly dried cherries, and some candied sugars with yeast notes.

T - Pretty balanced the ABV is kind of notable. The dried cherry aspect gives it a nice tartness which I enjoyed next to mild burnt sugars and other fruits.

M - Medium to heavy this one was a sipper for sure.

Overall not one of the best Belgium's I had on tap, sweet for sure but ABV was kind of noticeable.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%

Had a 2008 bottle last week and here is review. Poured a reddish brown body with minimal head and lace and a velvety aroma that is boozy and woody while giving off spices like pepper and ginger and dark fruits like black cherry, figs and raisins.
The beer is oh so sweet and smooth and for the booziness and flavors it packs it really is only medium bodied and not thick/syrupy at all.
Maybe too sweet for some, and with the aged bottle I had too boozy, but the sweetness from spices and fruits, such as candi sugar, figs, hints of toffee and caramel, spices like anise and ginger, and vanilla bourbon sweetness, just really pack a great punch for me.
I found balance in the beer with touches of bread like malt and yeast so no too sweet and has a mild finish thanks to well hidden booze.

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Photo of glid02
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a clear deep brown color with a one-finger white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. The lacing leaves a nice webbing on the glass.

Smells of licorice and anise, alcohol, and dark fruits, in that order. Very interesting.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet Belgian candy sugar hits up front for a split second before it's overtaken by licorice and anise. The licorice and anise stick around all the way through the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a very nice thickness that's backed up by subtle carbonation. This goes down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I'm not the biggest fan of licorice, but I still like this beer. Just know what you're getting yourself into.

Overall this is one of the more interesting Christmas beers that I've tried. Give this one a shot if for no other reason than for how unique it tastes.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
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.

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Photo of Gusler
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On the pour, the beer appears to be a somewhat caliginous cherry red color, the head Bunyanesque in size, the texture creamy, with sticky sheets of lace to caress the glass. Nose is fruit sweet, over ripe apples and or banana comes to mind, malt tones and light caramel hints also present a treat for the old honker to sniff. The start is honey sweet, the top lean, the finish is pleasantly acidic, cheerfully hopped, dry and somewhat alcohol bitter aftertaste. Yes, it does “Warm the Tummy”, and should definitely be put in the “Winter Warmer” category. If you like strong high ABV beer this is a must try, but you may find it a bit pricey at $10.49 a 750ml bottle. Personally I don’t mind the price, because “I’m Worth It Baby”!

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Photo of barczar
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought 2 years ago, probably got 3 or more years on it.

Pours an opaque deep brown with a dense, frothy khaki head that lingers as a thin layer of foam.

Rum-soaked date nut bread overwhelms the initial aroma. Reminds me exactly of Christmas at grandma's. Notes of raisins and treacle emerge.

Flavor is rife with dark fruit character. Prunes, dates, booze, figs, plums, and bruised cherries underlie a cloyingly sweet, candi sugar backbone. Cola comes to mind in subsequent sips.

Body is smooth and rich, fairly full, with minimal carbonation.

Sweeter than I had hoped, but the complex ester character is phenomenal. Still boozy and warming, this could probably age a few more years. Some oxidized sherry notes would counter the sweetness well, if they developed. The longer this beer lingered open, the better it got. Slightly tart sherry notes came out more, making it much less cloying.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, split, westvleteren chalce

2008 vintage

In honor of loving memories of a morning in Mechelen. I was stoked to get a 5-year old bottle of this at a very fair price @bottleworks. This is pretty spice forward, particularly clove, ginger, and mint. The body is a little on the light side - fading dark fruit and tempered alcohol. Not at the top of my list of belgian christmas ales, but still a sentimental favorite.

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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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Photo of ccrida
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml poured into my Gouden Carolus chalice, the Noel is a hazy caramel with a small off-white head that quickly settles, leaving moderate lace.

Smell is very rich, caramel and cured dark stone fruit like dates, raisins and fig. Also a nice buttery diacetyl. Awesome

Taste is rich dark malt, spicy yeast and carmalized sugar with lots of phenols. There's also a hint of allspice and a vinous, port like quality as well, but with a dry, dusty finish. Overall very spicy, but pleasant and not at all astringent. Much better then I remember.

Mouthfeel is sticky syrup, but light in the belly.

Drinkability is rather high, as the taste is good and the finish is pretty clean and quick. If you like it, then you'll probably really like it.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a mini Tripel Karmeliet tulip. 10% ABV, 03/08/10 printed on the label.

Thanks to bnieman for this brew!

A - The brew pours a dark brown, almost impossible to see through. Held up to light it's a hazed-over dark mahogany color. A nice tan head springs up and lowers slowly but with very little lace left over, especially for a Belgian.

S - Notes of pine and juniper add spice to the otherwise low nose. Deep malts and dark candi-sugar present sweetness but it doesn't stand out big. Molasses and maple are suggested too. Smooth and round, Belgian yeast and dark fruit esters are present as well but low. The heavy but low aroma lets out fig and plum as it warms.

T - Mild spicy esters give Nöel a nice little kick. Notes of pine and juniper from the nose with fig and plum bring out good characteristics. The roasted chocolate malt never gets bitter in part to the Belgian dark candi sugar. Lingering coffee flavor on the finish.

M - Medium-full bodied and smooth with a touch of crisper carbonation through the finish. Nöel has a mild spice and balanced sweetness that lingers.

D - The alcohol is very well hidden in this brew. While mild, the spice and fruit aspects really make Nöel a nice holiday brew.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into large snifter

Pours a deep almost purpley blacked out color with a beige head resting on top. Faint retention with some spotty lacing on the glass.

Rich malts with a plethora of dark fruits. Candied notes with raisin, date, and fig. Sweet but still malty and somewhat boozy.

Dark fruits up front with a hint of burnt sugar. Dates and figs with some candied notes. Decent malt backbone, somewhat roasty, caramel and molasses notes are present. There's a faint metallic note somewhere in here too. Warming alcohol is present throughout, especially towards the finish.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, a little chewy and soft on the tongue. Pretty much middle of the pack for the style here, but not bad.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 466 ratings.