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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

291 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 291
Reviews: 191
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 13.68%
Wants: 4
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: TheLongBeachBum on 09-15-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 291 | Reviews: 191 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TerryW

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2010 18:35:44 | More by TerryW
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2010 02:45:16 | More by smares2
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2010 02:18:18 | More by biegaman
Photo of GodOfBeer

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2010 00:02:57 | More by GodOfBeer
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-15-2010 15:45:59 | More by PhillyStyle
Photo of allergictomacros

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2010 02:22:45 | More by allergictomacros
Photo of cratez

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2010 04:10:33 | More by cratez
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

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

Another souvenir from LCBO-land...

This beer pours a murky orange-tinged brown colour, with more foamy white head than I know what to do with (brava, refermentation en bouteille), which leaves a thin painting of lace as it slowly, slowly recedes. It smells of banana esters, booze, and a bit of funky yeast. The taste is barley malt, mild candy sugar, soft banana, tropical fruit, and a soft metallic alcohol edge. The carbonation is on the low side, the body well weighted, smooth, and a bit sticky, and it finishes sweet and sugary.

A very approachable, and drinkable strong Belgian ale, once you get past the onslaught of blocking foam from even the gentlest of pours...

Serving type: bottle

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

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2010 23:36:35 | More by ludachris
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2010 03:35:28 | More by drpimento
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2010 22:30:16 | More by Viggo
Photo of kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2010 01:29:34 | More by kwjd
Photo of jbonapar

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2010 22:53:37 | More by jbonapar
Photo of JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2010 03:34:58 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of MeisterBurger

Ontario (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2010 01:38:08 | More by MeisterBurger
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2010 06:20:07 | More by thekanna
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2010 13:15:03 | More by adamette
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2010 02:16:58 | More by biggred1
Photo of drabmuh


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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

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

District of Columbia

4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First brew of the night, poured into a Stella Artois tulip glass. I may first note that this beer is COMPLETELY different between the first and last sip. The beer comes alive out of the bottle and I think it is imperative that you let the intense carbonation settle before digging in. Served really cold and left set at room temperature for 10 minutes after pour.

Great, yeasty brown color with great carbonation, a full, creamy head and light retention. Scents of some light dark fruits of cranberry and fig, as well as apples, brown sugar, and toffee. Taste rolls into abovementioned, subtle tastes with exceptional balance and crisp/creamy feel on the tongue.

Fantastically sugary and yeasty, with a really full mouthfeel all the way through to the finish. A fantastic beer from front to back, first sip to last. One of the best ambers I've had in a long time.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2009 02:12:33 | More by TLove
Photo of benclimbs


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

no, this is not a mistake - had on CASK at weatherspoons in Bristol.

What a surprise @ .99P for a half pint! looks fairly flat as its in a cask but a bit of head and lacing is still present in this light amber beer.

smell is honey, some floral notes, and a bit of ripe fruit - as well as just a hint of alcohol

taste is nice belgian yeasts with some more ripe cherries and apricots - a fairly prominent alcohol finish as well.

mouthfeel was diminished in my opinion as a cask ale (belgians should be champangney!)

it was a very drinkable, nice beer, a good example of a belgian amber ale.

Serving type: cask

11-16-2009 14:05:28 | More by benclimbs
Photo of Tilley4


4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an expected amber appearance with a huge Duvel-like frothy head... Rather murky with a bit of yeast...

Loads of apples, spices, leather, a little funk... Smelling really awesome and complex...

While this is a very tasty brew, its not as tasty as the aromas would lead one to believe... Rather straightforward malty sweetness with a touch of alcohol on the finish...

Overall, a nice brew... But not my favorite Belgian Strong Pale...

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2009 03:01:56 | More by Tilley4
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

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

11.2oz. bottle served at 51 degrees in my Duvel tulip. Presented the color of plum with a half inch, frothy, off-white head. Lots of yeast particles present in solution (looks kind of dark to be a Belgian Strong Pale). Some thick strands of lacing with decent legs. Nose is dark fruit, caramel/toffee, the merest suggestion of spice and a bit of booze. Taste consistent with nose; however caramel/toffee character masks the dark fruit present in the nose; I also detect a bit of candi sugar in the mix. Overall flavors come off as dry rather than cloying. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a slightly prickly carbonation level and little bit of residual heat on the tongue and back of the throat. Enjoyable, but not at all what I expected. Not my favorite offering from this brewer, but well worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2009 01:30:21 | More by Jwale73
Photo of Zorro


3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Chill hazed red colored beer with a tall off white colored head.

Strong apples and spice aroma. Toffee, fig, prune, brown sugar, and allspice are the main scents I pickup.

Starts out drier than the smell would suggest. Brown sugar and apple are the two strongest flavors. Tastes of wood and fruit but the taste isn't nearly as good as the smell.

Good full mouthfeel.

An OK beer that smells like heaven. It is too bad that the flavor is sort of flat compared to the smell.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2009 02:31:03 | More by Zorro
Photo of brendan13


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

A - Poured into a tulip glass a copper colour with a inch or so of off white head which falls away gradually. Touch of lacing.
S - Caramel, dark fruit touches, honey hint and an abundance of belgian yeastiness.
T - Much like the smell; light caramel and honey sweetness with dark fruit and spicey yeast character.
M - Medium bodied, pretty high carbonation, a bit of a bitter and dry finish.
D - A very nice beer indeed. Wouuld recommend and drink again without a doubt.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2009 09:34:38 | More by brendan13
Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
86 out of 100 based on 291 ratings.