Gouden Carolus Easter Beer
Brouwerij Het Anker

Gouden Carolus Easter BeerGouden Carolus Easter Beer
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #51
Ranked #5,503
4.05 | pDev: 12.59%
Brouwerij Het Anker
Very Good
Gouden Carolus Easter BeerGouden Carolus Easter Beer
Reviews: 120 | Ratings: 239 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of stevoj
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black licorice jelly beans, an Easter tradition, now in a bottle. Lots of anise and licorice in the aroma and taste, brown/black body with silky, but full, beige head. Sweet malt smell, licorice and ouzo on the finish, some slight alcohol warmth. This a new Easter tradition I could get used to!

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Photo of Ricelikesbeer
3.53/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I found this for around $11 and was pretty pumped to find something from Gouden Carolus I've never tried, as its one of my favorite Belgian breweries. I figured it would be a good holliday Strong Dark to serve for family.

L: pours murky red-brown with very little head whatsoever. very light carbonation. Upon popping the cork there was no audible noise- very strange to see no carbonation for a Belgian beer.

S: Very spicy and malty nose smells delicious and quite spiced. A bit of booze is there too.

T: This one is pure malt and spice, and sooo much anise flavor! that one ingredient really stands out, probably too much, and overwhelms anything else. The malt character is nice but the spice is overwhelming. Alochol is well integrated.

F: slick, oily, light body. The lack of any carbonation makes this seem a bit watered down.

O: Overall this one was disappointing considering the awesome beers I'm accustomed to drinking from the Golden Coin. I'll pass on this in the future. The anise was way to overwhelming. While the Noel also has a good amount, its not completely one dimensional like this beer.

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Photo of mynie
2.66/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

750 ml bottle. The cork is yanked out with only the tiniest of squeaks. The pour is placid, very nearly still. The beer has to be swished around before the smallest bit of fizz makes itself apparent.

Smells like raisins and caramel and alcoholic. Pretty intense, but also pretty one-note.

Tastes a little smoother than the aroma, but the thin and flat body really weighs things down. Tastes like a solid tripel up front: chocolate, heavy yeast, biscuits, and then it just melts away and comes back with some stale fruit and booze at the end. Uneven and not good.

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Photo of teromous
3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From the rear label: "16/01/2015 15006 10:40"

Appearance: It has a very murky brown appearance that can't be seen through. There is no head and no foam on the surface at all.

Aroma: I get a clear alcohol aroma and what smells like plums. The aroma is reminiscent of plum dumplings. There is a bit of a sweet smelling molasses scent similar to the scent that hits the nose after opening a bag of brown sugar.

Taste: There is a very rich caramel and toasted bread flavor that comes up at first. It has a bit of a nutty pecan-like flavor.

Mouthfeel: It feels pretty lifeless on the palate. There just isn't enough carbonation to bring this heavy beer to life. The texture is smooth. It's easy to drink as the alcohol is not too strong.

Overall: The bottle I got wasn't very well carbonated and it really hampered the drinking experience and the visual appeal of the beer. That aside, the aroma was great and it worked nicely with the flavor of the beer giving it wonderful notes of sweet caramel and nutty bread. I would probably drink it again but I really would hope that the carbonation would be better on the next bottle. If you are willing to take a chance with the carbonation, or don't mind it, then I would recommend the beer.

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Photo of chakadrum
3.26/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm generally a fan of the Gouden Carolus beers and this was the first time I spotted their Easter beer. I had to give it a try. I hadn't researched this beer at all so had no idea what to expect. The idea that it was to somehow represent Easter intrigued me.

Minimal head. Light lacing as I drink. Color when held up to a light is a ruby hidden among an autumnal maple leaf. Not much viscosity or carbonation to this beer so it slides down easy and for a 10%+ I hardly noticed - no heat at all.

I don't know if this was the intent but I can see a clear connection to Easter - if you like the black jelly beans. If there were ever a black jelly bean beer, in other words, licorice beer, this is it - the smell and taste. So, if this is your thing you'll love it. If it is possible to be on the fence about black jelly beans I am and the same for this beer.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown and filtered with a moderate amount of bubbles. Has a slight amber tinge. Topped with 4 fingers of brown tinged white head.

Smells of dark fruits, cherries, raisins and plumbs. Brown sugar and caramel.

Tastes of dark fruits, raisins, cherries, and leather. Its quite a sweet beer, very Abbey style dark Belgian ale.

Thick, syrupy body, highly soda like carbonation.

Got this one over two years ago in Chicago at Whole Foods Market. Cellared for 2 years, I drank it in New Hamburg, ON, after being away in Asia. What a return home! Been waiting for this one. Really solid for the style, typical to the brewer its quite sweet, and this one is dark and Belgiany.

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Photo of mobrado
2.68/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

As other reviewers have noted, this is full of anise. I don't think it is well-integrated at all. My bottle was almost completely flat too, which is obviously a fault of the particular bottle, but I still wouldn't buy it again.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My favorite reviewers have an unusual spread of opinion on this.
There probably is only one way to narrow that spread: let the ale warm-up in the glass.
The carbonation calms down and the sugar/fruits counteract the strong anise/licorice.
This is one of my favorite makers of Belgian Darks, so I won't be too hard on my rating.
But.... the licorice is too strong for me to go back to this again.
Instead, I recommend their other more commonly available beers.

MJ's "Great Beers of Belgium" lists this without review.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark raisin burgundy color but nice and clear with no haze or floaties, no carbonation, and no lacing ring.

S - Dark fruit, anise, black licorice, figs, - Very aromatic.

T - Light notes of anise and licorice, toffee malt, spice, figs.

M - Thick velvety body, low to no carbonation, sticky on lips.

O - Unique.

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Photo of Stevedore
2.8/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours a darker brown body, dark purple hue. Smells full of dark fruit and licorice, but it doesn't prepare me for what comes on the palate, which is full of anise. I'm really not an anise fan at all, in fact it's one of the flavours I dislike most overall, so as you can imagine I did not enjoy this one at all. Mouthfeel is medium-thin bodied, lower carbonation, and again full of anise. Overall, I don't like this because of the anise. If you like it, tread carefully. If you don't like it, don't bother.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Reddish brown color with off white head

Smell - caramel, menthol, mint, molasses

Taste - caramel, molasses, fig, raisin, menthol, mint, black licorice

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, sweetness upfront, minty menthol in the back end

Overall - decent beverage. If I didn't know any better, I would say that this is the same beer as the Gouden Carolus Noel

Price Point - $10.50/ 25.4 oz bottle

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Photo of Braz
3.31/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Interesting beer. Has the feel of an almost beer mouthwash. Anise and licorice flavors prominent to me. Hints of cola with a clean cleansing aftertaste, not mint though, hard to pinpoint. Moderate sweetness. This was enjoyable but not great.

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Photo of Slack
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Deep mahagony in color with minor head and significant lacing
Smell is fig / plum, sugar, black licorice
Taste is similar to the smell with fig / plum and sugar dominating. Am also getting some spiciness- maybe pepper and banana/bubble gum.
Mouthful is medium with medium carbonation, finish is a bit of cloying sweetness.
Overall a nice sipper that has a wealth of flavors but is a bit too sweet for me.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.4/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$ 10.99/25 oz bottle from Craft Shack
Undated bottle at 45 degrees into a hand washed and dried Tripel Karmeliet chalice
Aroma faint, slight spices and some licorice
Head average (5 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy, diminishing to
Lacing good – complete rings of dripping tiny to small bubbles
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor begins slightly sweet, with dates, figs, a slight amount of licorice, and some nutmeg. No hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate medium to full, creamy, lively carbonation.

Appearance 4.75, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4.5, Overall 4.5

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Basin 141 in Montrose, CA.

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of fruitcake, dark fruit, grape juice, and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, dark fruit, grape juice, and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice mix of fruit and spice aspects all around.

Serving type: on tap.

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Photo of ljdrinksbeer
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 bottling past its prime but can see that it had some nice complexities.

Edit: 4-5-15
Had another bottle and it deserves a bump uo in the score. Nice head that recedes quickly, a lot of malt sweetness with a hint of roasted bitterness, grape soda like finish.

Still need to try it fresh.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage 12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, clear, deep, dark mahogany color with a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic, with lots of dried stone fruit, such as raisins, prunes, dates and candied sugar, but not much in the way of malt.

Taste: Very similar to that aroma. Lots of stone fruit, dark molasses, and candied sugar. There’s some strong flavors of malt and Belgian yeast, but the predominate flavors are of delicious dried stone fruit and candied sugar.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly chewy. As there is no carbonation what-so-ever, this beer is extremely smooth. With an ABV of 10.5%, there is a very pleasant alcohol warmth present on the palate.

Overall: This is an extremely delicious beer, but I expect no less from Gouden Carolus. This will definitely be a yearly beer!

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Photo of seedyone
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

12/25/13 At Rattle n Hum, NYC. On tap. Part of a flight. 10.5%? Yes I'm going there. The depth of the flavor matches the depth of color. A sweet almost piney/maple aroma is way up front & doesn't give way. There it is. Like it or not. Me? Me likey! Do it, you'll thank me later. Disclaimer - **10.5% ABV**

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Photo of Vixie
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Pours a very deep ruby red with a decent sized tan head that lingers for a bit.

Smell is a bit sweet, brown sugar and dried fruit.

Fairly spicy beer. There's dried fruit, raisin, toffee, and brown sugar. Has a bit of a licorice note and a noticeable spiciness.

Fairly smooth feel with a bit of tingling from the carbonation.

An interesting take on the style. Has a fairly complex flavor, and the added spices really make themselves known. It is a lot like a quad, with the spices giving it a new twist. Not my favorite of the style, but definitely worth a try.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Trappe Door, Greenville SC. Served in a Tulip glass.

Appearance: Ruby red to tan brown dark ale, but bright and caught the light nicely. Initial thick white head upon pouring which died down to a thin skin across the top and plenty of persistent lacing. Great looking beer.

Smell: Rich toffee and caramel, along with some black cherry, some hints of yeast, and some spices.

Taste: Very rich and wonderful - lots of toffee, candi sugar, and caramel notes mixed in with plum, fruity esters, mild tart cherry, some spices I couldn't pull out, and a mild bitter finish. A sweet beer, but just what I was looking for as a dessert.

Mouthfeel: Thick and approaching creamy but also quite sticky as well. Light carbonation.

Overall / Drinkability: Dangerously drinkable. I easily could have had another but I would be hurting later if I did. Great by itself but I think it would have gone quite well with a meal. So many good things in this beer coming together nicely that add up to more than the sum of their parts. A special occasion beer for sure, and I think a great beer for that late spring holiday of Easter. I'll have to look for this beer in bottle form and save it for a special occasion. However, definitely a sweet and sugary beer. I could see if I was in the mood for something lighter this beer wouldn't cut it. This is a "last beer of the evening" ale - something you finish off the meal with or have when you expect to be going to bed soon. It's a beer for the finish, not the start or the middle. Makes sense to me anyway. After I've had this I want another, but I'm also done. Anything after this rich beer would clash badly I think.

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Photo of JulioH
3.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pretty good beer. Has a nice sweet Belgian Ale scent and taste, and a nice dark color.

This beer feels a bit thin, but that is OK. Flavors of raisins, kind of typical for Belgian ales. This one is a bit less sweet than some Belgians I've had, but that is good because too much sweet is sometimes not desirable.

Picked it up because it was labeled Easter Beer, and it was Easter.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.54/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5


Surprised I haven't reviewed this one yet... Picked this up at Brewer's Haven on Vista a couple weeks ago... Pours a fairly standard dark amber.. perhaps a little hazed.. 1" off white head has great retention and lacing.

Nose is weird.. tons of anise... lesser clove and some dark plum.. "Belgian", yes but more "spiced" than Continental.

Flavor has the same elements but with a little more dark sweet plum up front that actually helps magnify the anise/licorice notes...

Body and carbonation are fine for a BSDA... I am just not digging the heavy licorice component.. I don't remember the anise being so pronounced, but I haven't had this one in years either... Oh well.. I doubt I will buy this again just based on my personal prejudices.


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Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a brown body with one finger head and lace patches. The aroma of anise first hits me, along with candi sugar, and then dark fruits like black cherry and figs, possible plums. The dark fruit flavors are more pronounced in as there are strong flavors of cherry, figs and plum along with the anice/candi sugar crushing my tongue at times. The beer is balanced with fruits and sweetness but overall I'd describe it as a "sweet beer". There are spices lie pepper or coriander that are waiting to be picked out to and I get them on the backend in the finish. Complex, medium bodied beer that is chewy at times and a wonderful beer to enjoy.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 2/5/2013. Pours fairly crystal clear deep ruby-brown color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, pear, apple, clove, pepper, licorice, toast, toffee, dark candi sugar, bread, herbal, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast and dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, pear, apple, light banana, licorice, toast, clove, brown bread, dark candi sugar, light pepper, herbal, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness. Slight fruity tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, pear, apple, licorice, light banana, clove, dark candi sugar, brown bread, herbal, light bubblegum, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, slick, and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Belgian strong dark ale. All around great complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of falloutsnow
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From: Binny's, Bloomingdale, IL
Date: 2012 release
Glass: New Belgium globe glass

I happened upon this bottle, unexpectedly, during a visit to a Binny's in Illinois. For an easter beer, I was expecting something lighter in color and aroma/flavor, but this was not the case: the beer is a slightly lighter version of the Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw. Quite good, but I'd probably choose the slightly deeper, richer Blauw instead, though I am of course happy to try this mysterious, "rare," Easter beer.

Pours a 2cm tall mass of khaki colored foam, made up of tiny bubbles, creating a very dense, nearly meringue-like texture. Retention is good, the foam lasting two minutes in a slow decline to a thick ring and thin cap atop the body of the beer. Lacing is good, with semi-complex dots and lines clinging to the sides of the glass. Body is dark brown to black in color, light bringing out a very dark amber brown hue to the beer. Carbonation not visible through the functionally opaque body.

Aroma of dried and fresh plums, raisins, dried dates, dried black figs, candi sugar and Maillard reaction caramel-like sweetness, anise, modest mustiness, and very light molasses.

Flavor of dried and fresh plums, Belgian amber candi sugar sweetness, dried dates, raisins, dried black figs, anise, and slight caramel: like a lighter version of the Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw. Front of palate is of substantial dried and fresh plums, amber Belgian candi sugar sweetness, raisins, slight caramel, and anise. Mid-palate of dried and fresh plums, amber Belgian candi sugar sweetness, raisins, slight caramel, and anise. Back of palate detects strong anise, raisin, and dried plum, with lesser Belgian amber candi sugar, dates, black dried figs, and ethanol. Aftertaste of dried plums, raisins, dates, dried black figs, lesser anise and ethanol.

Beer is medium-bodied, with carbonation of medium intensity, resulting in a smooth, foamy mouthfeel that is never prickly. Ethanol is mildly noticeable in the nostrils and back of throat, but never detracts from enjoyment. Closes quite dry, with medium-low stickiness clining to the lips and palate.

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Gouden Carolus Easter Beer from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 239 ratings