Gouden Carolus Ambrio - Brouwerij Het Anker

Not Rated.
Gouden Carolus AmbrioGouden Carolus Ambrio

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very good

315 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 315
Reviews: 195
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.42%
Wants: 6
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TheLongBeachBum on 09-15-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 315 | Reviews: 195
Reviews by nokes:
Photo of nokes
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay chalice, burnt peach in colour and cloudy with a thick off-white head that retained well and left nice lacing. Very nice, but not atypically amazing for the style.

Smell is nice...caramelly and malty with floral and fruity tones, as one would expect.

Taste is good, well-balanced and mildly sweet but not overly so. Caramel/toffee with raisins and malts.

Mouthfeel is good too. Moderately full with a good level of carbonation.

Drinkability is just fine. No worries there. The sweet isn't cloying and I have to say it was a great companion to my roast beef.

All in all a fine brew and a good example of the style. Easy to enjoy. No effort required.

More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Map Room in Chicago, IL. Hazy Amber body with orange hues when held to light. Thick white head dissipates to a pretty skim after a minute or so.

Aroma of caramel, pears and apples, and hints of vanilla. Almost citrusy finish.

Taste has lots of caramel and toffee, a touch of banana, oranges, a slice of ripe pear.

Mouthfeel: smooth and creamy. Sugary and full bodied.

Drinkable? Yeah.

Not very exciting but overall a nice drinkable amber ale with some spunk.

Photo of MadScientist
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of merlin48
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, pours a slighly hazed, amber orange body. The head is ivory colored, and is huge and billowing, settling down into a rocky, shaving cream coating of the glass. Lacing effect is very impressive.

Aroma is fruity sweet and spicy. Pears and McIntosh apples comprise the fruitiness, while coriander fruits the spiciness.

Mouthfeel features enormously fizzy, carbonation and a medium body.

Taste is nicely complex. Apples and oranges lend a slightly sweet fruity character. Spicy coriander stays in the background, as does a note of candy sugar. The musty yeast is just right for this. The finish is dry, with a lemony citrus note.

Complex flavors and a fine balance of malts, sugars, hops, and yeast make for very good drinkability.

Photo of Billolick
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small 11.2 ounce bottle, "Ambrio 1471" on the label, expensive stuff at over $14 for a four pack! No freshness or bottled on info offered on the packaging. Pours a glowing dark honey shade of amber, Pretty clear, until the slightly yeasty final pour mixes things up. Lifts an initially huge tan head, this beauty very slowly settles down to meringue and then finally to a thick film and leaves behind all kinds of crazy spotty and knit lacing. Bubbles continue to rise to the top. Alcohol in the nose, also some raisins, confectionary sugars and tropical fruits, yum. Warming and tasty brew, plenty of fruity notes, also moderate rum, raisins, maple sugars, spicy yeasty notes, very nice, plenty of complexity and interest to go around. Well worth seeking out and savoring.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Opaque amber-brown, with some reddishness to it. Poured slowly, it still produced an immense, pillowy head (inch and a half). Receded gradually, leaving generous patchy lacing. Looks great.

Sweet pear, tropical fruit, yeast and granny smith apple are the predominant nose notes that I detect.

A nice, dry BPA. Very crisp and smooth. Notes of pear, apricot, yeast, with hops, pepper and spices to the finish, but overall these flavours are a bit hard to detect.

A little over-carbonated for my taste; very stingy up front. Moderate body.

A very enjoyable strong ale, especially if you like them dry and hoppy.

Photo of Underrower
2.03/5  rDev -46.6%
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.

Photo of smares2
2.36/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'll say this, this was an interesting review experience. It's a Belgian Ale that bills itself as an amber, which definitely caught my attention in the store.

This beer is very highly carbonated (it's refermented in the bottle so...). I could only pour less than half in the glass in the first go. Once I was able to get it all poured...

Appearance: Lots of head which clings and ripples up the side of the glass. Some of the head dissipates well along the sides, and the remainder remains thick forming a center crown. It looks like you'd expect a Belgian to look but when you hold it up to light that's when you can see the amber color come out and it's a bit less cloudy than many Belgians.

Smell: nothing real significant about the smell, not the rich experience you'd expect out of an 8% Belgian

Taste: Tries to balance between an amber ale and a strong Belgian, succeeds at neither. Fruity but bland for a Belgian, and not smooth like an amber. Though considering its flavor profile it hides the alcohol taste well.

Mouthfeel: Active on the tongue due to the carbonation

Drinkability: Fine, not what I was hoping

This is not a "bad" beer, but I rate beers relative to their price and their ambition. This one does not live up to what you'd expect out of a high end beer that should lend itself to a single-serving experience. I know I'm one of the few people who isn't at least fairly impressed by this beer, but there are so many Belgian options out there. So for the money or in the Belgian category, I'd recommend other options.

Photo of Shovelbum
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two finger rocky off-white head over a semi-hazy deep red-brown body. The head has excellent staying power, and leaves a web of lace coating the glass. Strong aromas of tart and sweet red berries, light pear and citric fruit, and miscellaneous Belgian yeasty goodness. Significant sweetness carries flavors of caramel, sweet orange and berry fruit. An earthy musty character lurks along with a mild cotton candy and marshmallow. A touch of pepper. Citric and earthy hop flavor and bitterness adds balance. Lively carbonation keeps the beer light on the tongue, yet the mouthfeel is smooth. Full bodied.

Yet another excellent example of the under-recognized Belgian ambree style. Wonderful complexity that as usual defies my ability to do it justice with words.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another souvenir from LCBO-land...

This beer pours a murky orange-tinged brown colour, with more foamy white head than I know what to do with (brava, refermentation en bouteille), which leaves a thin painting of lace as it slowly, slowly recedes. It smells of banana esters, booze, and a bit of funky yeast. The taste is barley malt, mild candy sugar, soft banana, tropical fruit, and a soft metallic alcohol edge. The carbonation is on the low side, the body well weighted, smooth, and a bit sticky, and it finishes sweet and sugary.

A very approachable, and drinkable strong Belgian ale, once you get past the onslaught of blocking foam from even the gentlest of pours...

Photo of mintjellie
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burnt orange in colour and very hazy. It's billowy beige head is massive and retentive, sticky to my glass in thick patches as it very slowly recedes. I can see lots of really tiny bubbles making their way up through the beer. It smells of bread and caramel, over ripe banana and apple, and booze. There's a notable alcohol presence in its aroma. Solid caramel malt base flavour, fruity esters taste like apple and raisin, with orange coming forward as it warms. There's very little of the banana that the nose hints at. Alcohol gives it a peppery kick. Feels quite light and dry, it's abundant carbonation is very fine and soft in the mouth. It's well crafted and balanced, and goes down pretty easy in spite of it's strength. I like the less balanced Gouden Carolus Classic better, but this is still a fine beer. I've been very impressed with the Het Anker offerings I've tried so far.

Photo of GilGarp
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Updated label form what is shown here. No mention of 1471 until you read the back label.

Stamped 90/04/11. Didn't realize the Belgian April had so many days!

Served cool into a chalice. Ambrio has color that ranges from orange to red to brown as I look at it in the glass. The head is very thick and that's after a very careful pour down the side of the glass. It settles slowly and leaves a nice sheet of lace behind. Simply a great looking beer.

The aroma is very pleasant and, most likely seems to foreshadow the tastes to come. Rich malty sweetness, caramel, orchard fruits, a little musk and damp wood.

Flavor is indeed much the same. Dark dried fruits are added to the mix as are common in darker Belgian styles. Many layers of flavor but not all completely integrated. The alcohol seems stronger than 8% just based on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fully carbonated. Maybe a little too much for the style.

And that brings me to my last point: I'm surprised this isn't considered a strong dark or dubbel. The color, aroma, and flavor all point to this being a darker style. Blind taste tested, I would've said it's a dubbel. Either way, it's a very good beer.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep glowing fiery, coppery red color, with a dirty-white head of foam that lasts and lasts...and lasts.

This has many traits of a Belgian holiday ale in the aroma. That's not a specific style, of course, more of a vibe, and this has all the orange, molasses, candi sugar and spice elements so many of those great Xmas ales have. An unsubtle nip of alcohol gives this a sherry-like twist.

Flavor is a complex and colorful melange of this and that: orange marmalade; heavily-steeped herbal/fruit tea; cinnamon; clove; black cherry; white pepper; cola; mint; subtle wood; ginger snap cookie dough.

Lots of tiny bubbles make this sing on the tongue, somewhat airy but plenty substantial, while just the right amount of stickiness makes the fruit/mint/spice/yeast finish ride through a long while.

Every now and then I wonder whether I'm ignoring the Belgian classics in favor of the more numerous new beers constantly being released in the States. I used to be all about Belgians and hardly anything else. I'm glad I'm no longer so narrow, but Gouden Carolus Ambrio 1471 is another reminder that nobody does it like the Belgians. I'm glad to have rediscovered the magic of this country's ales yet again.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.56/5  rDev +20%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I think this beer is seriously underrated! pours a deep amber color with significant head. very smooth and incredible belgian amber taste, unique to het anker. its got that taste detectable in all het anker strong dark(ers) but totally unique in its own right, very drinkable. fantastic with a good cohiba.

Photo of Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber colour with good soapy head.Fresh tasting. Corriander and spicy.Challenger and Golding hops, an above average hoppy Belgian. Medium mouthfeel. Good brandy-like finish. Ingredients clearly list corn and sugar in multiple languages. Expiry February 2010. I would think better with food.

Photo of zaphodchak
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark golden-amber body with one finger ecru-white head. Excellent head retention and good lacing.

Nose is musky and tart... hard to pin down.

Taste on the other hand is interesting: malt and even peat, faint smoked wood, alcohol dryness keeps these from being overpowering. Dark for an amber in terms of color and flavor. Faint appley fruit undertone.

Mouthfeel is creamy, almost foamy. Quite nice and spreads out the flavor to avoid syrup or cloyingness. Typical for Het Anker, and quite pleasant.

I was nervous: Gouden Carolus is a fantastic brown (Classic) and Cuvee and a bland/average tripel. I wasn't sure what to suspect, but was pleasantly surprised, but I never expect to be disappointed by Het Anker.

Photo of cjgator3
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark reddish brown with a large off white head. Aroma is dominated by a sweet caramel maltiness with some dark fruits. Taste is much like the smells with a nice malty presence with some warming from the alcohol and a dry finish. Mouthfeel is a little lacking in my opinion but does not detract from the beer too much. Overall, this is a good brew that is definately something I would like to try again in the future.

Photo of prototypic
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ambrio indeed pours an amber color. It’s a bit hazy, and it has quite a few yeasty particles swimming about. I was even careful with the pour. Backlighting gives it a really nice crimson look. The head is off-white and stands about a finger and a half tall. It’s quite slow to recede, holding at a surface covering for quite a while. Good looking stuff.

The nose is good. It features a nice mix of caramel malts, grains, and bread-like notes up front. It’s definitely an interesting mix, but smells good. It smells a little spicy. It’s a bit reminiscent of fruit cake honestly. There are some light fruit notes of apple, pear, and perhaps even peach. Belgian yeast is noted and smells nice. Grainy and earthy notes emerge on the tail. Alcohol is noticeable, but isn’t overwhelming. 8% seems about right.

The flavor is pretty good. Not great. The malt base does feature some sweet caramel. There’s also a very strong bready flavor. There’s definitely a spicy quality to it, but I can’t identify individual spices beyond pepper. It does have a fruit cake flavor that’s subtle. It’s earthy and grainy throughout. Fruit flavors are there, but are more subtle. Apple and pear are most notable. They seem a little at odds with the spicy notes though. Belgian yeast is probably responsible for the spiciness. Its presence is easily noted. It definitely adds something positive overall though. Alcohol isn’t too noticeable. Finishes yeasty, fruity, spicy, and grainy.

Ambrio has a medium body. Carbonation is active, but soft. It does have a nice, smooth feel and goes down rather easily. It’d be even easier if the flavor were just a little better. Not bad at all here though.

Gouden Carolus Ambrio is not the best beer I’ve experienced from Brouwerij Het Anker. Having said that, it’s far from bad. The interplay between the fruit and the spiciness not all that great. Definitely worth trying out though. It's pretty far from bad.

Photo of tempest
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle with the bolognese at Sette Luna. This was a decent Belgian and reminded me of Chimay Red, but there was an alcohol note and the overall character was a bit plain. There's a light malt flavor with toast crust and a dry but jam-like berry taste. The body is very drinkable, but I'd just like more tasty Belgian character, especially considering how great the other Carolus beers are.

Photo of Filosoof
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

Photo of jbonapar
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

New to the LCBO in Ottawa....

Pours a nice slightly hazy golden with a wonderfully thick head. Smells of bready yeast, alcohol , fruit.

Taste: bready, fruity with a sharp bitter finish. The alcohol is hidden but certainly adds to the shaprness of the bite at the end. Dry, slightly sweet but dry at the finish.

Certainly a nice beer, medium body although the Belgian Sugar adds the nice alcohol bite.

REally enjoy this, and I certainly want another. My favorite Carolus thus far.

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap, at Pizzeria Paradiso (Washington DC, Dupont Circle):

The beer was served in a tulip glass, a cloudy amber/dark amber maybe a shade of orange, served with a nice white head that was well retained with decent lacing. Noticeable carbonation.

The aroma was good and what you would expect from this style.

Taste was excellent. Nice Belgian flavors that would be expected and it also had a spicy kick to it, which I didn't expect.

The beer had a medium body, very good carbonation and was extremely easy to drink but the elevated ABV will get you in the end, yet I could have drank them all not long and paid for it later. Overall, very tasty and well done beer.

Photo of Bung
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Photo of puboflyons
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
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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Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
86 out of 100 based on 315 ratings.