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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

298 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 298
Reviews: 192
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.68%
Wants: 5
Gots: 13 | 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: 298 | Reviews: 192 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

tempest, Jun 19, 2010
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.

bobsy, Jun 02, 2010
Photo of Moe55
4.8/5  rDev +26.3%
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.

Moe55, Jun 02, 2010
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

CAMRAhardliner, May 26, 2010
Photo of mintjellie
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

mintjellie, May 22, 2010
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

MattyV, May 10, 2010
Photo of Bestuurder
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
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.


Bestuurder, May 07, 2010
Photo of TerryW
3.05/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

TerryW, May 02, 2010
Photo of smares2
2.35/5  rDev -38.2%
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.

smares2, Apr 24, 2010
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.

biegaman, Apr 20, 2010
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.

GodOfBeer, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of PhillyStyle
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

PhillyStyle, Apr 15, 2010
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.

allergictomacros, Apr 12, 2010
Photo of cratez
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

cratez, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of biboergosum
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...

biboergosum, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of ludachris
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky amber tea hue with one and a half fingers of creamy and lushious cloud white head that displays some of the best head retention I've ever seen on a beer, with no sign of receeding after about four minutes, leaving thick and gooey patches of lace.

Ripe tropical fruits like pineapple and mango, banana, belgian yeast, and a bit of pepper all greet the nose.

A mere glimpse of the sweet and juicy tropical fruits promised in the nose is what's left in the taste turning more into a backbone for the ripe banana that quickly follows. Belgian yeast, pepper, and a bit of a funky mineral-like component that I'm not sure what to think of make up the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, rich, and creamy, with a high level of carbonation that I think might have taken away from the taste a bit. The finish is crisp and quite dry.

Overall, a solid BSPA that's still in need of some tweeking. Take out the strange mineral-esque finish and substitute it for more tropical fruit, and cut down on the carbonation, I could see this one being at the top of its class. But it is what it is, and I'd say it's still worth a try. Its faults are clear, but the good outweighs the bad.

ludachris, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of drpimento
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice, drinkable beer. Poured with a nice off white/ cream color head and some lace. Color is a very slightly hazy medium amber. Aroma is malty, yeasty, a little caramel and taffy. Flavor's the same with more pronounced bittersweetness. Well balanced. Body is full and smooth with great carbonation to match. A little alcohol in the finsih. Tasty. Almost a slow easy drinking session.

drpimento, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of Viggo
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330 ml bottle, from the LCBO.

Pours a hazy copper with some dark orange, very fluffy off white head forms, very voluminous, slowly settles down to a thick and chunky layer and ring, lots of lace sticks to the glass.

Smell is great, very fruity and spicy, mangoes and tropical fruit, orange peel, wheat, lightly yeasty, some alcohol and banana, a bit of peppery spice and some sugar, cherries, like a fruit salad.

Taste is similar, very fruity, lots of mango and raisin, some oranges, cranberry juice tartness, wheat, yeasty, lightly spicy, some booze in the finish, a bit sugary, a weird oxidized/iron sort of flavour going on though.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with very high carbonation, a little too much for me. Really neat aroma and a nice beer, but the flavour and carbonation are a let down.

Viggo, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of kwjd
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber-copper colour with a thick white head and nice lacing. Smells like sweet caramel with Belgian yeast and a little spicy. Spices are hitting me as the beer warms up a bit, but also with some candy sweetness. The body is quite bubbly with carbonation and I can notice the alcohol taste a bit. A little bit of bitterness as well. I enjoy this, but I don't think I'd want to drink more than one in a row.

kwjd, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of jbonapar
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

New to the LCBO in Ottawa....

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

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

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

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

jbonapar, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

JohnnyBarman, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of MeisterBurger
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a golden brownish amber with an astonishing amount of carbonation, topped by a big, frothy, sticky billowy head.

The aroma is soft pears and yeast, mild but inviting with lots of toffee and dark fruit coming out as it slowly creeps towards room temperature.

The taste is a little tart and waxy, with an apricot character throughout and lots of toffee with just a hint of spice and iron in the finish. Finishes dry.

Medium mouthfeel, a little creamy yet slightly overly carbonated.

It's nice. But frankly I don't really feel strongly enough about it one way or the other to put any real effort in to this review.

MeisterBurger, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of thekanna
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into stein (I realize this is not the proper glass).

A: Nice luminescent amber with very visible yeast solids suspended into the brew; off-white, cappuccino cream-colored head is gigantic, rock solid, and clumps on the side of the glass.

S: Beautiful sweet smell of apricots and peaches with a general fruity, slight citrusy sweetness.

T: Nice and sweet; apricot and peach flavors really stick out, like a peach cobbler. A little bit of citrus and a good amount of phenols round out the aftertaste.

M: Juicy, with a bite of carbonation at the finish.

D: Another excellent brew from Browerij Het Anker. I have yet to find a beer produced by them that I don't like.

thekanna, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of adamette
2.3/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Live review. Poured from the 750ML bottle that I purchased yesterday for $7.89 at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor. "Belgian Amber Ale" printed on top of right side of label but no observed "best by" date. Poured into my silver rimmed Westvleteren goblet.

A Light creamy brown head that was not thick but stayed around for several minutes. Body is a rather boring light amber, translucent body. I really like the head on this beer which the Carolus D'Or lacked. 4.0

S Medium roast malt with a significant dark fruit/anise smell. I do not particularly like the dark fruit/anise aspect of the smell. 2.5

T Yeah, that dark fruit and anise smell carries right over into the taste in a kind of a tart funk that I find not pleasing. That funky tartness stayed really consistently from the first taste all the way into the aftertaste, another aspect of the taste of this beer that did not impress me (it was pretty simple really). 2.0

M By looking at it I would have thought/hoped that it would have a nice, creamy feel but instead the harsh tartness of the anise/dark fruit really made it anything but smooth to the feel. I realize, though, that an amber usually has a bit of that harshness. 3.0

D Not very good. I finished a whole goblet of it over a period of 15 minutes to see if it changed with warmth but it really did not. I did not finish the whole 750ML bottle.

Notes: Dissapointed in this one from Gouden Carolus/Het Anker.

adamette, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of biggred1
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy light brown with a massive light tan meringue like head that slowly melts like ice cream. Dark fruit, coriander and clove with a touch of musky hops in the nose. Brandy and chocolatey malt are well balanced with Euro hop bitterness. Warm alcoholis finish. Medium bodied with a huge amount of carbonation. A really nice change of pace for the style, hoppier than most and easy drinking.

biggred1, Jan 14, 2010
Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
86 out of 100 based on 298 ratings.