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Gouden Carolus Ambrio - Brouwerij Het Anker

Not Rated.
Gouden Carolus AmbrioGouden Carolus Ambrio

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very good

309 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 195
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.42%
Wants: 6
Gots: 18 | 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: 309 | Reviews: 195 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dstc
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown color with s huge tan head. Head falls very slow yet stays. Thin lace.

Aroma is of sweet candied sugar and malt yet is somewhat tinny.

Nice sweet malt taste that turns sharp on the tongue. Ends with a lingering sweetness.

Medium bodied and rather sharp on the tongue.

Nice, easy sipping brew. Love that Goudon Carolus.

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 jikvig
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

It got a cobberbrown colour, with a huge head. The foam sits on top for a long 5 minutes before it settels.

On the nose the is a smell of freshly made bread, only it´s not baked yet. Which is strange, because I do get a "baked" aroma aswell. Also get some dried fruit, raisins and a beautiful maltaroma.

Wow, really rich in taste and even if it´s 8% you don´t feel it. The foam is compact, the aftertaste last for a loong time and hops is suddle. It´s kinda sweet, but it´s not to much. Just a hint of bitterness.

A really wellmade beer, with a beautiful balance and alot of taste!

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 StephenRich
4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you checked out the LCBO Spring Beer Release hopefully you got your hands on a Gouden Carolus Ambrio - if you did, than you will know exactly what I'm talking about. If you didn't, well, you probably should. The Ambrio is without a doubt my favorite beer from the Spring Release, and is a remarkable beer it its own right.

The Gouden Carolus brand is brewed by Brouqwerij Het Anker, among Belgium's oldest breweries dating back to 1369. Thanks to its unwavering authenticity, Het Anker's beer are now distributed world wide. Their beers are still brewed using the original recipes and without any sort of compromise in ingredients. The Ambrio has been brewed since the fourteenth century, and is the last of its style brewed in Belgium. It is truly a Belgium Pale Ale in modern terms.

The Ambrio is still available at the LCBO right now in many locations, however because it was a seasonal release, when they are gone, they will be gone. So I do suggest grabbing a few. You wont be sorry. They come individually in 330ml bottles at 8% abv. I was very excited when this beer came to Ontario shelves, I had been so impressed by the Gouden Carolus Classic that I was at the edge of my seat waiting to try the Ambrio. Pretty much the second it got to 8 to 10 degrees Celsius and was ready to drink I pulled one out of my fridge and poured it into a nice tuliped chalice. This beer poured with so much life and vigor I could barely contain it! Even with a very gentle and slow pour it produced a massive amount of excessively fluffy and pillowy head. Eventually I would get the whole bottle out into the glass, but the head was just enormous. It was filled with cavernous holes and massive bubbles. It kept its shape and retained so much life on top of the beer - it made me even more excited.

Just to point out, not every beer should be served with an even head. Some beers pour with no head, others with an inch, and many Belgian and old world beers pour with a vastly large head. It is representative of the style of beer and the life within it. The head of the beer is yet another characteristic of the beer we can enjoy, it is filled with color, aroma, taste and texture.

The Ambio's head was a pale white standing strong a few inches on top a lively amber red beer with lots of golden rays bursting through it. It was only slightly opaque and slightly hazy, eanough to catch a glimpse through the glass. The edges of the beer glowed orange while the center was a deep and rich amber to brown.

The nose is very potent with the warmth of alcohol, banana, pears, pineapple, some dried fruits, a touch of clove, and a distinct Belgian yeast characteristic. There is a slight touch of hops on the nose, but mostly live ripe fruits.

The flavor of the beer is something that I have thought about over an over again since tasting it. It shows exceptional balance, complexity, history, and a unique richness which I am constantly adventuring for. It begins with the same sweetness in the nose; tropical fruits warmly roll over your tongue showing banana, pear and sweet caramel. As the beer flows to the back of your mouth the sweetness becomes more of a warm malt giving it much depth and attitude. Spice is beginning to form on the sides of your tongue and cheek with clove, pepper, and liquorice, but just gently. Not so much that the beer becomes spicy, but just enough to tickle your palate happy.

A smooth hop dryness comes out of the back of the beer, which I didn't originally expect. Its light with a citrus feel to it, but has a cherry like sweetness hidden within it. Now that it has crossed my palate I realize that it is necessary to balance this beer into proper harmony. It finished clean with warm plum and dry hops leaving your palate happy and alive. The beer's mouthfeel is light and hearty at the same time; dancing on your tongue with exciting flavors, but also caressing your palate with rich textures and aromas.

I'm not even thinking about food pairings for this beer, I'm going to let it stand alone as a one man show. It really has a lot to offer, and is my favorite of all the beers in the 2010 LCBO Spring Release. Please go enjoy one!

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.

Photo of beerpirates
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at brewery het anker

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

S - Sweet plum and 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

T - A gentle raisin sweet, and A nice nutty spiced quality and mysterious cherry 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 - Very drinkable , but i'm not à big fan of this brew

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.

Photo of robbyc1
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A belgian strong pale served at the Goose Island Clybourn tasting in April 2010. Fruity and earthy with a yeast palate you will find elsewhere from Het Anker. Very complex with notes of honey, caramel, and apples, augmented by a raisiny depth. Round and full and balanced, this complex ale is a bit overly carbonated, but finishes balanced and is very drinkable with no sign of any alcohol burn, just a nice drinker for any season.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.26/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330 mL bottle without a freshness date. Pours a well-hazed copper color with a ridiculously massive topping of light beige foam. Fades very slow and leaves a nice mesa of head in the middle of my glass. Lacing is nice as well.

Nose is fruity Belgian yeast with a hefty dose of caramel and toasty malt. Light bread dough and maybe the remnants of a faint hop presence. A mild cinnamon and clove spiciness is evident.

Taste has alot of earthy and nutty tones with some toffee and dark bread. Carbonation is high and body is medium. Toasty finish with a little bit of bitterness. Touch of sweetness accentuated by some Belgian yeast esters of clove and light fruit. A little boozy. Just ok, probably the least favorite brew I have had in the Carolous lineup.

Photo of brianjay
3.09/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A disclaimer: The store I purchased this from has a habit of keeping beers past their prime. I thought this was quite the find as it is rare, not sure how long they have kept this one on the shelf.

A very cloudy appearance, this body is brown with red hues and has a thick, fluffy, bright-white head which quickly fades to a thin, surface level sea foam.

There are strong fruity notes on this one. You can smell the alcohol. The taste reminds me of dried bread crumbs and meat. The fruitiness is the most overpowering characteristic, however. It sticks on the tongue. The finish is like jam/chutney and dry fruits.

All the things that make it a strong Belgian ale are there, but this one felt much more dry. Not a bad brew to accompany a dinner, but on it's own it feels a bit overwhelming.

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

Pours a burnished orange, with a huge creamy white head that exhibited great retention and laced in sheets. Excellent all-round appearance on this beer, and it looks the real deal in my Maredsous chalice. The nose is classic Blegian Strong Pale - light dry grain, with big esters, spice and candy sugar overlaying it. I'm getting lots of mango, pear and lychee. Smells great.

Not to be let-down, the flavour delivers, and my only complaint would be that I wouldn't mind seeing the intensity ratcheted up a little further. Again, light tropical fruits linger from start to finish, and play against some spicy Belgian yeast. Fairly sweet with only a mild hop bite. Really, its all driven by some very fine yeast, and neither the hops nor the malt are overly prominent. In most cases this would produce a pretty critical response from me, but on this occasion I think it works, which is a testament to the quality of Het Anker's yeast. Active pillowy carbonation works well, though the body could do with some additional heft.

Another very good offering from Het Anker, that, with a few small tweaks, has the potential to be excellent. I'm really impressed with this brewery and heartily recommend them to all lovers of high quality Belgian ales.

Photo of Moe55
4.77/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Gouden Carolus glass. Thick creamy head lingers above a dark brownish amber colored beer. Can barely see small bubbles rushing to top. Can smell malt and belgian yeast. Taste is a little caramally and honey. After tasting the beer, I can smell the caramel. Yeasty with a taste of alcohol at the end. Very good taste, just like the smell. Great mediumbodied mouth. Solid beer. I think I'll have another.

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

Pours an orange/amber color with a billowy white head that lasts forever. Curtains of lace drape the glass all the way down. The aroma is of pear esters and wine gums with some breadyness. The taste is fruity and complex with pear, apricot, tangerine, green grape skins and mint all in the mix. Some woody, herbal hops show with warmth. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a light to moderate level of carbonation. Sweet fruit flavors make up the relatively long finish. Alcohol is unnoticeable throughout.

A very pleasant beer. Quaffability belies the high ABV.

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 MattyV
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured as gentle as can be into a Chimay goblet, and yields a good fluffy pillowy off-white 2 finger head that is going to sit and stay a while. Is hazy amber-brownish in colour. Leaves tons of lacing.

A sweet and fruity aroma, yeast, on the light side overall.

Taste is yeast-dominated, with some dark fruits, spice, and chewy malt. Definitely detecting the odd iron-like sensation that has been previously mentioned, which is somewhat distracting and unpleasant. Alcohol is hidden quite well.

Highly carbonated, medium-bodied and overall easy to drink.

Was expecting a little more out of this beer, the ABV was hidden well but nothing jumps out at you about this one... pretty sure I pretty the Classic Gouden Carolus

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

Good brew, matches well with lamb, duck, and venison.

This brew poured from a 330cl long neck bottle into a abby pint glass. Very thick head, which settles rather nicely into a heavy lacing throughout consumption. The auburn colouration and cloudiness are excellent. The head is off-white, mildly beige.

Scent is strong of malt, hps and yeast. Mild notes of caramel and pine nuts.

Flavour is abound, but not controlled. The taste of nuts and hops are very central. Moderate aftertaste, which feels like warm pilsner.

The palate is enraged with texture! The thickness of the brew is excellent and the cask carbonation is balanced.

This is a brew that could only be consumed when paired with a proper meat or octopus. But overall, itisn't terrible, but it certainly is not great.


Photo of TerryW
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a great big coarse overactive head that settles to a heavy film and gives up lots of lace.

Nose is rather lightweight for a Belgian. Yeast, spice, some dark fruit - but nothing that really stands out. Similarly light taste and mouthfeel. Clean and slightly spritzy. Fruit and yeast and gently boozy. Slight alcohol sting to finish. Again, nothing that really stands out. Overall a fairly average beer that hints at being a Belgian more than anything.

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 biegaman
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ambrio isn't quite as pretty as it sounds; it is a monotone orange (not exactly amber) that gains any glamor only when held directly into the light, when it flares to a blazing tangerine peel. To its credit, the creamy bubbles lathered atop are firm and stalwart enough to subsist indefinitely (as proven by the lasting canvas of lace they deposit).

The aroma offers little to recommend it. A fragrant and fervent yeast gives the nose something to look into, but in the end we find it's a dead end. Apart from the generic spice, there is little fruit or malt; that non-descriptive spice floats on an island all itself without the slightest bit of substance. It is musky and, truthfully, somewhat undesirable.

With the flavour as with the aroma, the yeast pulls its weight but the rest of the ingredients (hops, malts) are doing about as much work as a house cat. There is the taste of rotting apple or pear, with just a hint of sherry and alpine herbs. Otherwise, however, the taste is dominated by a phenolic, zestful yeast and traces of stale bread.

A little caramel or an increased dosage of the fruit would have been nice; this brewery has never held out on the malt so why now, why this beer? Its absence exposes how much alcohol is contained and makes for a beer that is about as satisfying as gazpacho. There is also an odd metallic tang that corrodes through the palate like battery acid.

The iron-like element is stifling, especially because it happens to be accented by a tablespoon of refined white sugar. Between the two, the tongue feels as though it's being slowly oxidized, gnawed away at. Add the alcohol to the mix and you've got a palate being cankered with only the slightest bit of flavour or gratification to show for it.

Het Anker make one of the most refreshing Belgian spiced ales I've tried (Margriet) as well as one of my favourite Tripels, Christmas-themed release and two of my favourite 'go-to' Belgian ales of all-time (Classic and Carolus D'or). This offering, it puzzles me, doesn't fall anywhere near close to the quality and character I've come to expect from this brewery.

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

Pours a beautiful cloudy golden yellow with lots of carbonation. Magnificent thick, fluffy white head and lots of lacing that stays around for the ride.

Smells of nice belgian yeast, grassy and some spice.

Tastes like a nice belgian pale ale, fruity malts, dry yeast flavour, and finishes grassy with some nice spices.

Very refreshing ale. I like this better than their original. I would seek this out again.

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 allergictomacros
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy amber with a thick, solid head.

S - Nose is spicy, grassy, earthy, with hints of light fruit and alcohol. Slightly medicinal.

T - Apple, pear, alcohol and yeastiness. Quite sweet as well. A little bit of funk but not too much.

M - Light body with a medium carbonation.

D - Pretty good drinker but a bit strong to session. Smooth and tasty.

Photo of cratez
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330ml bottle from the LCBO. Part of the 2010 Spring Beer Release. Pours a cloudy copper orange with golden hues, a thick cap of eggshell white head, and sheets of lacing on the goblet. Great looking beer. Aromas are floral, ripe fruit, candy sugar, yeast, and metallic notes, very subtle. Taste is spicy yeast, semi-sweet pale malts, more metal, vague astringency, cantaloupe, melon, and a lemony hop bitterness (sort of sour) to finish. Smooth and medium mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, tart and biting textures on the palate, vague citrus dryness in the aftertaste. Everything about Ambrio is very toned-down. It's not bad, it just doesn't excite me either. And there's much better BPAs in terms of complexity, flavour, smell. Worth a go if you like the style, but I expected a lot more from this brew.

Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
86 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.