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Gouden Carolus Ambrio | Brouwerij Het Anker

very good
196 Reviews
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Gouden Carolus AmbrioGouden Carolus Ambrio

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 09-15-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 196 | Ratings: 333
Photo of dbrauneis
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very hazy reddish brown in color with heavy amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate amounts of garnet red highlights. The beer has a four finger tall foamy beige head that slowly reduces to a large patch of medium thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of acing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark fruit (figs and dates) and spices.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of dark malts with a light to moderate amount of caramel + brown sugar sweetness. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of dark fruits (fig and dates) and moderate flavors of spicy/peppery Belgian yeast. There is a moderate flavor of spices in the finish as well. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish and a hint of booze which fades away pretty quickly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Smooth with light to moderate amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Alcohol is pretty well hidden considering the strength of the beer and is definitely an enjoyable slow sipper with nice complexity of flavor.

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Photo of hansavijaticar
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark red colour. Not bad, but too sweet and dull, and in that respect close to Gouden Carolus Classic. Hopsinjor is still the best of Het Anker's beer.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Estilo: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol: 8.0 ABV

Apariencia: Color ámbar intenso, dorado antiguo y marrón rojizo, con una amplia corona de espuma color marfil de alta retención.

Aroma: Frutos del bosque, bayas, caramelos, azúcares, notas florales, notas de madera quemada.

Sabor: Interesantes sabores a maltas y azúcares con regusto sutil a alcohol. Frutos rojos, frutos frescos y cítricos. Notas ácidas.

Sensación: Cuerpo medio con carbonatación alta.

Maridaje recomendado: Bife de chorizo a la leña. Costillas al bbq.

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Photo of barczar
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%

Likely several years old, found on clearance at the local shop.

Great caramel malt and melanoidin character in the aroma complement the Belgian yeast ester notes of pear and bruised apple well. Flavor is mostly pear skin, apple, and caramel malt, slightly nutty at the finish. Not offensive, but not particularly characterful.

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Photo of benfons
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

Clear dark amber colour, nice big head. Some caramel, hint of prunes in the nose. Tastes a bit bland, some cola flavours, some caramel, a bit of tart. A bit flat for my taste. Really average strong brown beer.

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Photo of FLima
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Slightly hazy amber copper color with a huge beige head with eternal retention and leaving strong laces.
Light aroma of caramel malt, raisins, orange marmalade and other overripe fruits.
Bold flavor with lots of spices initially and notes of herbal hops, rum, green apples, pears and lots of sugar. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness that fades away quickly with sugar overtaking it.
Light body with good carbonation. Alcohol of 8% abv is definitely there.
I found it disappointing comparing to other Gouden Carolus. In one word: boring, too much sugar and caramel lacking complexity and a bit of balance. But looks nice.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful ruby-amber-brown with a tremendous, effervescent tan head that goes from half the glass to a couple inches of fluffy cream. Great retention; perfectly even chunky lacing. Poyfect!

Sweet dough, flowers, clove, roasty malt. Spicy and sugary. Warm.

Rich, rummy, spicy, yeasty, aromatic. The taste comes onto the tongue spicy and warm. It progresses through sweet maltiness and subtle dry hoppiness before a lingering boozy finish with yeasty spice.

Round, coating, and warm. The body is a touch past medium. On the whole it is velvety with really subtle carbonation. Awesome.

Fantabulous beer in every way!
This is not the best representation of its style if we are judging it that way (I'm not) but is a very good beer. I can think of other beers that I would judge as "better" but this is a very tight package that is exactly what it should be, which I can't say about them (if that makes any sense).
One of the most perfect-looking beers that I have ever had with an alluring spice-laden nose and a taste that shys away from copying the smell. The velvety palate and lingering booze warmth make for a complete package.
Will have again; find it.

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Photo of DrinkNewport
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Does any else notice how ridiculously long Belgian beer names are? If you're not royalty, six words in your name is way too many.

Beautiful brown pour with a nice head. This is a very "typical" Belgian beer. The aroma is...well, just "Belgian". The same with the flavor. This isn't a bad thing. It's not bad to be a typical Belgian beer, any more than it's bad to be a typical Ferrari.

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Photo of Underrower
2.03/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2

750 ml bottle in a goblet

Label says amber-looks amber. Not much head. What there is dissipates quickly.

Smells, sweet, a little funky, maybe over riper fruit and yeast.

Taste- disappointing. Tastes like overripe plums or some other fruit. Later there is a bitterness like you licked an ash tray. I had to go back and lower the taste score. The farther I got into this bottle, the worse it gets. The taste is awful. Rotten plum then ashtray.

Great mouth feel if you can ignore the funky tart taste.

Overall-disappointment. On tap the Gouden Carolus Couvee Van de Kaiser Blau is my favorite beer of all time. The only IPA I like it Gouden Caroulus Hopsinjoor. I was expecting more from this. I really wished this was better. Would not ever want to taste this again.

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Photo of spoony
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From an undated 330 ml bottle into a tulip.

A-The brew is pretty clear and deep amber/honey colored. The greyish-khaki head starts out at two fingers tall, but drops quickly and leaves a decent bit of fine lacing behind. No bubbles visible.

S-The smell is concentrated with fruity, spicy alcohol warming my nostrils. After a bit of time in the glass, the malty caramel and vanilla come through and stay strong. The scent is a bit rough and atypical for a Belgian.

T-The taste is heavy on the malty caramel with only the faintest hint of bitterness on the mid-palate. It is sweet, but less sugary sweet than many BDSA varieties. The finish is warming, spicy, and alcoholic, but somehow fitting.

M-The feel is medium body with a drinkable style of carbonation that isn't terribly soft, but isn't crisp, either...right in the middle, I guess.

O-This is a surprisingly enjoyable beer. The caramel maltiness of the brew is unlike most other Belgians I have had, which focus more on dark fruit and candy/brown sugar flavors than this brew, which feels more English or American in style. The alcohol is very present, but provides a nice, spicy balance against the malts.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the caged, corked 750 ml. bottle. Sampled on July 4, 2013.

The pour is mainly ruby red with a long-lasting, silky tan head that lingers and laces. Excellent clarity.

There is a fabulous Belgian maltiness and plum or prunes on the nose followed by butterscotch, Belgian yeast, and a distant hop hint.

Full body that is also smooth and creamy.

The taste, while not as vibrant as the nose, exhibits a dark fruit character with mellow malts and a lingering moderate hop bitterness ending dry at the finish. Alcohol is fairly well-integrated. Quite delightful all in all.

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Photo of Bung
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. hazy rust colored pour. Finger of off white head.

Aroma, fig, prune, raisin. Light candy sugar.

Taste, some red fruit and plum. Less sweet than I was expecting from the nose. Some brown sugar like maltyness. Definite raisin. A light cocoa in the finish.

The usual carbonation, lighter side of medium body. Not real sticky so it drinks fairly well. Reminds me of a dubbel.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.17/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle into a New Belgium goblet.

A: Pours a dark amber color. It's fairly clear for the style; then again, I left the dregs in the bottle. The head is a fluffy two finger offwhite shade. It slowly but steadily fades away after time, falling down to a thin film.

S: Quite standard for an amber ale - that is, it's very much dominated by caramel, toffee, brown sugar, earth, and maybe a hint of chocolate - only with some apple and pear notes from the Belgian yeast. As it warms up, it becomes more chocolaty, and that's always a good thing to me.

T: The opening is laden with caramel, and combined with some fruity esters, evokes caramel-coated apples in its flavor profile. It finishes fairly dry, aside from some lingering white grape notes in the aftertaste. Truth be told, this one is pretty boring...but at the same token, 90% of all amber ales bore me. In terms of craftsmanship and balance (if not depth), it's at least rock solid.

M: It's pretty damn drinkable for an 8% brew - for better or worse, it drinks like its 5%. Of course, it's about as interesting as a 5% brew, too. The finish is quite dry, and even somewhat astringent. Well carbonated.

O: Not very interesting to me. That's the only real problem here: it's just boring, and there's little complexity to make it interesting. I don't find any reason to return to this one in the future, but it's not bad.

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Photo of MadScientist
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: More foam then beer with 3.5 fingers of sticky, light tan bubbles. Long lasting head leaving thick ropes of lacing on the glass. a dark golden beer with good clarity.

S: A fairly fruit nose with strong aromas of plums and apricots. Light notes of spice and moderate sweetness. Low perfumy alcohol aroma.

T: Medium, honey like sweetness with a flavors of apricots blended with some light notes of black pepper. A low hops bitterness and light earthiness. The balance is somewhat sweet with a fruit and spicy aftertaste a medium sweet finish.

M: A medium to medium-full bodied beer with very strong carbonation. There is some noticable carbonic prickle on the tongue. Light alcohol warmth.

O: A fruity and spicy Strong Dark without any of the subtle dark malt flavors typical for the style. Think of a Belgian Pale done imperial style, if that's what you want to drink I think you enjoy this one.

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. A small 330 ml bottle. Lot 26/01/14, 11010 – not sure how to interpret, maybe "drink by" Jan 1, 2014?

A very nice complex BDSA. On the malty side balanced with some spice and alcohol.

A – Pours a slightly cloudy amber with a dense off-white 3-finger head. (did not pour the bottom of the bottle into the glass). Average to below average lacing.

S – Slightly sweet, raisins, figs (faintly?), maybe a very slight spiciness as well.

T – Rich with some bitterness to balance dark fruits and a slightly caramelly malt character.

MF – Well carbonated, medium to heavy bodied, medium dry finish. Sort of a sharp start with a fizziness in the finish.

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Photo of newton99
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: the beer pours an amber color with a medium head.
Smell: Some malts, yeast, caramel and some fruits. All very faint.
Taste: Malts, caramel, hints of orange zest with a light spicy hoppy finish.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, medium bodied
Overall: very single dimensional

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Photo of Filosoof
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I don't like ambers, but this one is interesting. The looks are one of the best I have ever seen. Great, big top. Lovely light amber colour.

Last year I thought the smell is very one dimensional. But since the beer/cheese pairing in Het Anker I know better.

The taste is vanilla and toffee. Spicy. Great to be paired with spicy cheeses.
Nicely hopped. Faint taste of the great Blauwe Band. Round, nice finish.

Overall: fascinating, different amber.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle - $4.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a foggy, dusky amber-brown body with a medium-tall, off-white head.

Smell: Bready, toasty malts with a sugary, sweet-scented element in there. Fruity touches of spiced golden raisins and baked apple. and faint, underlying basement quality to it.

Taste: As with the nose, it's bready and toasty malts sweetened up with a little nibble of brown sugar and rock candy. A little bit of sultana with skins-on orchard fruits (maybe even some strawberry as it warms and the suds die out). Modest spiciness, a touch of alcoholic warmth, faintest funk, and a hint of leather-flavored Chiclets all run together at the tail-end. Finishes quite effervescent -- prepare for loud, unstoppable burps, if you're in polite company.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Highly carbonation, quite spritely moving across the tongue.

Overall: Flavorful, pretty decent.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1471 on bottle
(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer pours a slightly hazy garnet red body with a light beige head that is bubble with a gentle carbonation supporting it. The head sticks to the glass in a light film.

S- The woody oxidized aroma has a dry candy note and a vinous hint in the finish. There is a fruit punch ester note that comes through as the beer opens.

T- The dry flavor has some light toasted malt sweetness in the finish with candy sugar notes that turn more like cider as it opens. There is a woody finish with hints of wine tannins.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has no alcohol heat and some tight light fizz in the finish.

O- This beer has a nice flavor and a bit of candy sugar grows but it seems like it is showing some oxidation and other signs of too much age.

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Photo of KingSlayer
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

330ml bottle, expiration date due 2015. bought at a local supermarket. poured into a standard pint.

A: poured a caramel semi translucent ale. no head formed, no lacing, no visible carbonation.
S: banana bread, pear juice, vainilla, metallic.
T: metallic component initially assaults the buds, quickly subsides and reveals a sweetness to it, little hops present, bitterness accentuate a little bit towards the end. pear juice aftertaste, mildly alcoholic.
M: medium body, kind of smooth, strange tongue tingling sensation almost like spicy, totally FLAT.
O: palate and nose are OK, the thing that upset me was the complete absence of carbonation (hence no head). for me the mouthfeel was a comlplete let down. would this brew be properly carbonated and it will be great.

Maybe it was the sellers fault/misshandling/ shelf time/ etc.. will revisit again hoping to find that lost precious carbonation.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle served in a tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep and clear amber color forming a medium bubbled light yellow head. Good retention and lots of lacings formed and left in the glass

S: Caramel malts and flowery hops, mainly. Quite fruity and a bit spicy too. Notes if caramel malts, candy sugar, plums, brown bread, Belgian yeasts and grassy hops

T: Sweet malts upfront with notes of caramel and toffee which turns quickly into a citrus and grassy hops bitterness in the end. Good bitterness, BTW. Again, quite fruity with notes of dark fruits, plums mainly. Brown bread, Belgian yeasts and hops

M: Medium body and good carbonation. Molasses. Aftertaste is mainly made of a mix of sweet malts and bitter grassy hops. Classic Belgian bittersweet Ale

O: Good drinkability. In between a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and a Strong Dark Ale. Het Anker quality

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Photo of n2185
3.61/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy copper with three fingers of beige head that recedes into a thin cap with a solid sheet of lacing.

S: Belgian spices with candy sugar, bubblegum, and sweet breads dominate the nose with a chalky yeast finish.

T: Light spice flavors up front with bubblegum and candy sugar. Sweet bready flavors follow with some subtle fruit notes and a yeasty finish.

M: Medium body with highish carbonation, this beer is a little heavier than I'd prefer, though still nicely attenuated.

O: A solid BSPA overall, though it is almost a BSDA or dubbel. It's a little on the simple side with the yeast dominating the aroma and flavor (despite being carefully decanted), but still enjoyable.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle into chalice, no bottle dating(older label). Pours very hazy dark reddish brown color with a nice 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of raisin, prune, molasses, caramel, toffee, biscuit, herbal, light pepper, earth, and yeast spiciness. Nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of raisin, caramel, toffee, prune, molasses, biscuit, herbal, light pepper, earth, and yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of toffee, caramel, molasses, dark fruit, earth, bread, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Very nice flavor balance and complexity; there is a very prominent toffee flavor to the beer, likely due to the age of the bottle. No cloying sweetness at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with hardly any warming noticed at all after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Belgian amber ale. Very nice malt flavor complexity and balance; and very smooth to sip on. Really enjoyable, I wonder how a newer bottle of this compares.

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy pumpkin color with a massive white tan head.

S: Strong alcohol and musty notes.

T: Some nice spice notes, alcohol has a good kick to it which accentuates the spice. Finishes a little musty and wet.

M: Sits pretty nice with a light medium body. Some nice flavor developments.

Overall I was very impressed at first but then as it warmed the spice and alcohol really seemed to overpower the beer. Not the best showing but it's pretty good.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Smells more like a Dubbel than a BSDA, which is a great thing. The pour is brown, not pale. Friohy watery off white head. Kind of one sided, but not bad. More dry and grainy than anything, which I wanted more sweetness. Goes down insanely easy, and feels slightly slick late. Slightly metallic.

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Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
86 out of 100 based on 196 ratings.