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Gouden Carolus Ambrio - Brouwerij Het Anker

Not Rated.
Gouden Carolus AmbrioGouden Carolus Ambrio

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BA SCORE
86
very good

194 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 194
Hads: 317
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 7
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker visit their website
Belgium

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 194 | Hads: 317
Photo of AgentMunky
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Gouden Carolus chalice. Best before 17 November 2012.

A: Even a relatively gentle pour netted an enormous head, filling more than half the glass. Although it recedes, it does so quite gradually, retaining its fluffiness and form throughout. Big clumps cling to the sides. The beer reveals itself to be a hazy copper, full of bubbles and lustre, that is moderately clear.

S: Not too impressive, but nothing to gripe about either. Cloves, cinnamon, heavy fruit (banana? red apples?).

T: Mm, I think it is banana. A bit like a hefeweizen, but creamier. Darker fruits -- figs -- meet hops...but only sometimes. Some sips are nothing but sweet, confectionary whimsies, while others are significantly more textured, offering tart apple, bitter hops, and zesty yeast. The worst of the bunch is an occasional (happened maybe three or four different sips) metalleity; however, this is rare enough to be untroublesome. The aftertaste is lightly drying, but largely unremarkable.

M: The creaminess is splendid, but other feelings don't deliver. The bitterness doesn't stimulate so much as irritate the mouth, and carbonation is lackluster.

D: Not my favourite Gouden Carolus, perhaps, but still a good beer. No trouble at all to sip empty. Recommended. (1,279 characters)

Photo of MrOH
3.31/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dirty blond to light brown, very cloudy, with a big foamy head

earthy, funky, apricot, spice, white pepper, anise

metallic, spice, earthy, touch fruit, pepper, anise, clove, vegetal

light, good carb

goes down easy enough, but kinda harsh on the finish

Drank 9-26-10 from notes (281 characters)

Photo of treque
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: an amazing huge no white head, it take a while to disspate to get the first sip, a reddish color with some brown/orange hues. semi traslucent, tiny bubbles on the carb which is constant

S: nice smell, some belgian "taste", fruits i would say apple, raisins and touchs of caramel, you can smell from a far position

T: some sweet notes at the beggining, and then appear a nice sensation on mouth, like a warming but not so heavy, also some bitter while the sweet dissipates at the end, an alcohol note is present at the very end

nice for a beer at night (557 characters)

Photo of argock
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2oz brown bottle into aDuvel tulip. Refermented in the bottle 10/12/09. Purcahsed as part of Het Anker 4-pack sampler for $15.49 at Market Street Wineshop (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Hazy peach hue with prodigious foamy 3-4 finger head with good retention and clumpy lacing all down the glass.

S: Floral, herbal hops aromas meet yeast, brown sugar, and apple skin

T: Very crisp with a light balance on the palate. Bitterness is more than expected but not unwelcome as it counters the sweet fig and brown sugar notes well. It also complements more of the malty crackery flavors and fruity yeast. The hops component is floral and herbal with some orange zest in there too.

M: Very light on the palate with very active crisp cleansing carbonation. Finishes with moderate dryness.

D: Another Het Anker brew, another thumbs up. This is not their strongest, but it is still very solid and very good, and a change of pace frmo their more malt oriented brews. Have Cuvee de Kaiser left to try from their lineup and very much look forward to it. (1,054 characters)

Photo of megahurts4
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Gouden Carolus Ambrio

Appearance: Amber, large head, and some good lacing.

Smell: yeast, spices, very faint fruit, and malts.

Taste: yeast, slight hop, some spices, faint fruit, and a very subtle dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light and bitter finish.

Overall:
This is a decent Belgian. The smell seems dark and slightly yeasty. The most noticeable part of this is the bitter finish. I am not used to most Belgians being this bitter. (441 characters)

Photo of mariposafan
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big, billowing fluffy cream colored head over a red amber body. Simply gorgeous.

The aroma is yeasty but with lots of sweet fruits as well. Maybe a little malt in there but mostly it almost smells of fermented fruits (though not rotting fruits.)

Sweet fruitiness again in the taste, with lots of yeasty goodness and some maltiness as well. The only downside is the alcohol - it's just too outfront for the rest of the flavors.

The mouthfeel is a bit astringent. Lots of carbonation coupled with a bunch of upfront alcohol keep it from being as enjoyable as I'd like.

Everything but the amount of alcohol is very good, but it's a little hot and heavy for me to consider it as more than a one per night treat. (711 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice from a bomber. Appears light brown, off white head and some lace. Aromas of malt, booze soaked fruit and apple. Flavor is slightly tart, in a belgian sense, with some roasted malt in the background. Hops are modest here. All in all, nicely tart, dry and malty. A nice dry belgian style amber ale. Would recommend to the beer savvy. (353 characters)

Photo of TheHammer
2.42/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: What the heck, I started with a modest pour and the head just wouldn't stop climbing. I understand a lot of Belgian beer should have a lot of head but it produced a full hand worth of head, which is excessive. It does lace like crazy and retains very well The body is a murky amber filled with an ungainly amount of sediment.

Smell: A lot of alcohol and a bit of grape scent with an overwhelming amount of yeast and the barest amount of malt. Warming helps it's case out quite a bit more.

Taste: It starts with a mild malt taste but then turns into a taste I would best describe as bad and musty white wine as the yeast makes it's presence far too well known, as does the alcohol which isn't poorly disguised. It ends with herbal and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel: Very bad transitioning, as the early malt doesn't lead nicely at all into the rest of the beer, and the carbonation seems off, likely because it was all expended in the head. The aftertaste though is nice, with light malt and white grape juice taste.

Drinkability: It's just not there, it's trying too hard to be high class to be an everyday drinker, and there are much better instances of this style and other Belgian styles that conceal their alcohol content a lot nicer.

Final Thoughts: To me, this is a beer that seems out of touch. It has massive carbonation, but it hurts it's case. It has ample yeast, but it also hurts it's case. I don't doubt a lot of effort went into making this beer, but it strangely strike me as someone who is trying to force a great beer. I honestly can't recommend it. (1,576 characters)

Photo of Clydesdale
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky bronze with orange highlights. The head has a soft khaki tone and is extremely tall, light, and foamy. Retention is impressive, and random splotches of lace stick to the glass.

S: Some sugary sweetness in the nose - some firm caramel notes. Lightly phenolic and spicy notes go along with an herbal hop presence. Some moderate notes of orchard fruit add a bit of depth.

T: A short flash of caramel sweetness at first. Yeasty characteristics dominate - fruity esters of bruised red apples and ripe pears, along with light spicy phenols. Herbal hop bitterness is fairly pronounced for a Belgian style. Lightly metallic and alcoholic into the finish.

M: Fairly full-bodied. Rescued from stickiness by aggressive carbonation that doesn't seem to lend too much smoothness. Crisp and dry overall.

D: A pleasant but somewhat scattered Belgian ale. A bit different, but definitely a not an all-time favorite. If you're a fan of the style, you'll probably dig it. (978 characters)

Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This held up well after several months in my beer fridge. Apricot cognac hue, very small bubble steady carbonation supports a dense, foamy head, impressive fruity bouquet. Taste is bitter, fruitier backdrop makes it crispy and pleasing on the palate. Gets better with air, more complexity, full bodied with an overlapping sweetness that makes it really interesting to sip and savour. Nice job, decent Belgian Strong Pale Ale. (425 characters)

Photo of dstc
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
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. (346 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (1,191 characters)

Photo of jikvig
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
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! (589 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
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. (1,204 characters)

Photo of StephenRich
4.21/5  rDev +9.9%
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! (4,166 characters)

Photo of nokes
4/5  rDev +4.4%
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. (674 characters)

Photo of beerpirates
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
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 (606 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
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. (545 characters)

Photo of robbyc1
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
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. (431 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.26/5  rDev -14.9%
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. (757 characters)

Photo of brianjay
3.09/5  rDev -19.3%
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. (794 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
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. (395 characters)

Photo of bobsy
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (1,245 characters)

Photo of Moe55
4.77/5  rDev +24.5%
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. (431 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
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. (563 characters)

Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
86 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.