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Gouden Carolus Ambrio - Brouwerij Het Anker

Not Rated.
Gouden Carolus AmbrioGouden Carolus Ambrio

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

288 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 288
Reviews: 191
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.68%
Wants: 4
Gots: 10 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: TheLongBeachBum on 09-15-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 288 | Reviews: 191 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2007 02:50:27 | More by Sammy
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, rich, bronzed orange peel. The only thing amber about Ambrio's appearance is a thin sliver of that color where beer meets glass. The expansive, airy, rocky, sticky crown of foam is typical for a Belgian ale. I like the thick streamers of sudsy lace, I just wish they were more numerous.

The brewery considers Ambrio to be a hybrid of sorts (my words). They call it an amber ale, hence the name, and say that it has the 'powerful taste' of a brown beer and the 'freshness' of a blonde beer. That's exactly what it smells like. Spiced, overripe apples and figs gets it about right.

The flavor profile hits me the same way. It's darker than the average Belgian pale and lighter than the average Belgian dark. Thanks to what tastes like a healthy amount of caramel malt and a dollop of fig jam and raisin puree, it favors the darker end of the spectrum. Challenger and Goldings hops provide a surprising amount of countering bitterness, keeping things balanced in the end.

Each sip is sweet, bitter, musky and spicy (cinnamon, clove). Like all beer from this brewery, there's a lot of complexity to be had. My first thought was to call the mouthful *merely* good. With time and warming, though, it has developed a lush creaminess that expands to fill every nook and cranny.

On the strength of five fantastically delicious ales from Brouwerij Het Anker, I'd have to consider them my favorite non-American brewery. The fact that this incredibly drinkable beer comes in at the bottom of the pack is a testament to just how special their lineup is. If you love Belgians and want something a little off the beaten path, give Gouden Carolus Ambrio a home in your glass. You won't be sorry.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2007 15:40:04 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98

New York

3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy reddish brown in color and has a high amount of visible carbonation. It poured into a snifter glass with a two finger high dense beige head that slowly died down and consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light aromas of dark fruits and spices in the nose.
T: Flavors of dark fruits stand out in the taste, which also has notes of caramel and notes of malty sweetness. The finish has some mild notes of hop bitterness; while the hops aren't that noticeable in the overall taste they help to balance out the fruity and sweet flavors from becoming overpowering.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation. There are notes of dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2011 03:56:13 | More by metter98
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a bounteous head that sticks well and provides swathes of lace

Smell: Malty/yeasty aroma, with a hint of caramel and pepper

Taste: Opens with a malty flavor, that has a very dry caramel character; by mid-palate, there is a sense of floral hops; after the swallow, a bitter presence linger, along with some golden fruit and orange zest

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation; some warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Nice flavor profile; very well balanced

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2008 19:22:02 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep hazy amber color ale with a huge foamy white head with good retention. Aroma of light caramel malt with the usual yeast presence. Taste is mostly dominated by some caramel malt, light spices and light bitter finish. Very good for the style but still nothing special that would make me crave for this again.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2006 16:47:51 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never been disappointed by any brews from Brouwerij Het Anker. Naturally I expected great things from the 'amber'. The beer pours an impressive, well headed, rust colored hue, with a mild haze. Firm aromas of caramel malts, heavy bready / yeasty notes, and a firm spicy tartness. Flavors ride a little sweeter than aromas suggest, but keep the fresh bread flavors and textures. Sweetness shows a lot of caramel maltiness with fresh fruits (peaches, cherries, and apricots). The texture is full, but not heavy, very creamy. Finishes with a lot of sweetness, tartness, and a little astringency. Another fine brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2007 13:26:18 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2013 00:13:36 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of jaydoc


3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

11-03-2013 15:17:57 | More by jaydoc
Photo of ygtbsm94


3/5  rDev -21.1%

01-05-2012 08:34:16 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of TMoney2591


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

Served in a Gouden Carolus chalice.

1471? Shit, this thing's origins predate Chuckie Vee himself. It pours a clear earthy amber topped by over a finger of off-white micro-foam. The nose comprises figs, rye bread, banana, cloves, light caramel, and a hint of booze. The taste holds notes of pepper, rye bread, nutmeg, caramel, citrus and floral hops, and orange peel. The body is a light medium, with an active carbonation and a somewhat dry finish. Overall, I was abit underwhelmed by this brew. It was alright, but nothing really near special.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2010 05:57:30 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of JAHMUR


4/5  rDev +5.3%

11-29-2011 04:03:05 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
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...

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2010 02:47:22 | More by biboergosum
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a completely murky brown with an orange tint. Minimal crème head. Odd nose. Dough and ink. Seems to calm down a slight bit and morphs into a citrus funk with sugar. Flavor is nice and deep. A little bit of sugar and a fairly firm amount of funk mix in with a defined earthy deep character. Feel has a slightly lower but good carbonation to it. Liquid is good as well. Drinkability is good. This is easy to put down. Even though it is a strong ale, you never see it coming with the abv. Just a nice smooth easy drinker with a little bit of funk.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 04:55:20 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of drabmuh


4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from a bottle into a wine glass. Beer is brown and hazy with an aggressive and gigantic off-white head made up of tiny bubbles. Head falls away leaving a lot of lacing. Carbonation is moderate but cannot hold up the monstrous head.

Beer smells yeasty / bready, and has some characteristic ethers and some alcohol in the nose. Smells good, like a Belgian ale.

Beer is slightly bitter in flavor. Sweetness comes up later. Finishes cleanly, very drinkable. Carbonation plays a big role in translating flavors to surprising parts of the palate. The mouthfeel is great, medium bodied. One of the greats here.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2009 04:03:57 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Slatetank


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

Presentation - poured from an 11.2 oz brown bottle with a crimson coin displayed on the label depicting Emperor Charles V. According to the information provided this ale was first brewed in the town of Mechelen in 1471.

A - A deep amber/bronze ale with a quickly rising and falling off white head that left a thin residue of lace.

S - Sweet plum and sour cherries with nutty scents and a brown sugar accent that blends with a subtle clove aroma

M - A drying spicy feel with sugary dry powdery texture a-la fig or raisiny sweetness and generous effervescence.

T - A gentle raisin sweet, earthy flavor and a candied fig-like element steps forward in this delectable belgian red. A nice nutty spiced quality and mysterious cherry tomato sweetness enhances the taste. Nuts and mild chocolate notes creep in as it warms. Great herbal flavors add depth as the sweet sugary essence gives way.

D - A sweet, well crafted ale with restrained spice and surprising drinkbility for it's 8% strength.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2007 16:55:55 | More by Slatetank
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice, dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a refreshingly fruity aroma along with a solid caramel malt scent. It doesn't appear to be as complex as some, but that's alright. The taste is good. It has a crisp, roasted character that goes down easy and finishes with some nice fruity yeast esters. It's quite dry in the end, but I really like the crispness of this one. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with just a tad too much CO2. This is a keeper. I liked the simpler grist of this one. It made it easier to drink and allowed the yeast to take center stage.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2008 00:33:22 | More by WesWes
Photo of jwc215


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

Cage-corked bottle:

Pours hazed amber with a creamy off-white head that leaves some stickage on its descent.

The smell is of caramel, spicy darkish and citric fruitiness, earthy, bready, some peppery alcohol. Very complex.

The taste changes as it progresses with caramel staying a forward constant. Begins with spiced fig-like, raisiny fruitiness that becomes citric as it reaches room temperature. Assertive warming alcohol mixes with bitterness and sweetness in the finish.

Light-to-medium bodied and almost effervescent feel.

Nice complexities with noticeable alcohol. Another classic from Belgium that I was glad to have had.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2008 15:22:01 | More by jwc215
Photo of Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +5.3%

11-25-2011 20:57:29 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

2.68/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Brown 33cl bottle, best before Sept 2007, drank March 2007.

Poured slowly, oh so slowly into a Straffe Hendrik bowl, or chalice glass, whichever is the correct terminology.

Slightly hazy, teak wood brown with a biege white foaming head, which stayed.

Toffee apple and caramel aroma, sweet and almost sickly at first, the smell weakens as the beer hits the air, the bottle neck before pouring gives off an increadible cloying smell.

Sour, clogging, yeasty, almost nasty, tinny, bitty taste. The alcohol is also oppresive, an altogether not nice taste.

The aftertaste does sweeten up, but the overal taste doesn't match the aroma what-so-ever, a very strange beer.

I have one more bottle left, I intend to age it, the beer can only get better. I look forward to reading this in 5 years.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2007 22:12:21 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: hazy copper color with a three finger head that lasts. Thick lacing paints the glass.

Smell: caramel candy and some soft yeast tones are enjoyable.

Taste: nice malt profile with caramel candy sweetness. Oranges, plums, and yeast are paired with a decent bitterness that balances this out. Alcohol is barely noticeable here.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp and dry at the start, smooth and dry at the finish. Medium bodied. Aftertaste is brief.

Drinkability: decent drinking beer that several can be consumed in a session without getting bored.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2007 13:27:39 | More by Gavage
Photo of corby112


4/5  rDev +5.3%

11-22-2011 03:04:52 | More by corby112
Photo of weeare138


4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to doppel07 for breaking this corked 750 mL bottle open...
Appears a medium light transparent amber with a small white head that fades into a mild cap. Streaky lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, light citrus, a mild dose of sugar, earthy hay, spices, and fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas that seems to be very appealing for my palate. A bountiful mix of an earthy, spicy brew.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, smooth, and sugary.
I don't think the other guys dug this as much as I did but I would seek this out again.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2006 18:58:36 | More by weeare138
Photo of tempest


3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2010 20:26:31 | More by tempest
Photo of wl0307

United Kingdom (England)

3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(transcribed from notes) Tasted by half-pint at Penderel's Oak, a JDW pub b/w Holborn and Chancery Lane tube stations, Central London. It's served on the handpump like a real ale! The pump clip says it's available in this form exclusively to the JDW group, and the abv. is also stronger than the normal one: 8%.

A: clear, amber, black-tea-ish hue; sparse foamy head and very low carbonation--suppose this beer doesn't translate too well on the handpull? (as it's lost its charm as a Belgian ale; or my biase.)
S: a profound scent of perfumy red-bean paste (as in most Belgian dark ale I reckon) and slightly pine-nutty, backed by a good honeyish malty overtone; profound toffee+caramel plus an intense note of ripe banana's skins follow, a bit like hefeweizen here (I'm not kidding). Very intense and slightly cloying aroma, much stronger than I could remember from the original 6.5%abv. tap version.
T: slightly salty-sweet and banana-ish (reminiscent of a rich hefeweizen), plus a flow of bittersweet maltiness upfront; simultaneously a thick fruity flavour expands--toffee-coating, dark candy-sugar, and exotic fruity hints; moderately bitter with faint tinges of black tea-leaves in the very end, yet the finish is rather short.
M&D: the absolutely flat-ish texture serves to soften the overall syrupy and cloying flavour, making this a devilishly easy-drinking strong ale. But due to its lack of liveliness, the whole impression of this beer somehow already goes beyond the recognition of its original form, hence a failed "cask-interpretation" IMO. Maybe it's supposed to be a different brew altogether?

Serving type: cask

05-24-2006 15:35:57 | More by wl0307
Photo of Billolick

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2007 16:18:01 | More by Billolick
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Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
86 out of 100 based on 288 ratings.