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Gouden Carolus Ambrio | Brouwerij Het Anker

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197 Reviews
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Gouden Carolus AmbrioGouden Carolus Ambrio

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 09-15-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 197 | Ratings: 335
Photo of spinrsx
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Hazy orange/brown colour with a massive size fizzy and frothy beige coloured head. I can’t tell how much carbonation there is due to the haziness and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for close to 10 minutes before it was gone.

Smell – malts, raisins (port wine), smoke, roasted/toasted notes

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an above average amount of carbonation. I can taste malts mixed with dark fruits (raisins) and a bit or a roasted/smoky flavour. I also picked up on a woodiness and a bit of a butterscotch flavour. It finishes with a malty slight sweet aftertaste.

Overall – There are a whole bunch of flavours going on and the beer has a complex taste. It’s very well balanced and the alcohol is hidden nicely. I’m not sure I’d want more than one at a sitting, but I will definitely be buying this beer again.

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Photo of zaphodchak
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of MrOH
3.31/5  rDev -13.4%
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

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Photo of treque
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
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

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Photo of argock
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of megahurts4
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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.

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Photo of mariposafan
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

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Photo of TheHammer
2.42/5  rDev -36.6%
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.

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of dstc
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of jikvig
4.42/5  rDev +15.7%
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!

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.21/5  rDev +10.2%
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!

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Photo of nokes
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of beerpirates
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
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

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

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Photo of robbyc1
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.26/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

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Photo of brianjay
3.09/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

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Photo of tempest
3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

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Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
86 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.