Gouden Carolus Classic | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic
BA SCORE
4.11/5
Exceptional
Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium
hetanker.be

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#4,562
Reviews:
420
Ratings:
911
pDev:
10.22%
 
 
Wants:
76
Gots:
162
Trade:
0
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 420 | Ratings: 911
Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Medium: Capped, goblet glass.
Opacity: Deep hazy and cloudy.
Color: Dark brown with a copper hue.
Head: Creamy light beige 1 finger.
Legs: Good with decent swirl reaction.
Smell: Brown sugar/Cinnamon/Toffee.
Taste: Dark berries/Molasses/Coriander/Nutmeg.
Feel: Spicy/Estery/Earthy/Yeasty.
Body: Medium smooth and light creamy.
Carbonation: Moderate crisp.
Overall: Warming and slightly alcoholic, still easily drinkable and not overly rich.

High quality.

Visual 7/10 - Flavors 7.5/10 - Sensations 8.5/10 - Balance 9/10 -
Freshness 5/10 - Intensity 7/10 - Complexity 8/10 - Appreciation 8.5/10

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Photo of Gajo74
4.01/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear dark brown color with notes of ruby. Medium large frothy head displays good retention, a creamy layer of film and lacing throughout.
The aroma is complex, with dark fruit, cherry, plum, raisin and berries. Notes of toasted malt, graham cracker and honey. The sweetness of the aroma is complemented by spices, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, along with floral hops notes. However, what stands out the most midway through is a vinous red grape aroma that becomes thematic to this beer.
Sweet and fruity all throughout. Big vinous flavors of red grape, cherry, plum and raisin; it drinks like a full bodied fruity red wine. Moderate spices balance the sweetness somewhat. Full malt flavors evoke honey and graham crackers.
Full bodied and vinous. A moderate carbonation. It hides the alcohol flavor well, yet, there is a touch of alcohol warmth and a spicy linger in the finish.
Although I found this beer to be a fit on the sweet side, it is possible that perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood for it. Nevertheless, technically and stylistically speaking, its right on point, and thus deserves a good rating. I would be happy to revisit.

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Photo of HoppingMadMonk
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cliudy brown color,solid feel and decent carbonation. Aroma is a mix of different types of dried fruit,malt,spices,and some yeast. Aroma is strong and enticing and gives a great hint of the taste. Taste follows aroma,doesn't lack in flavor,the dried fruit really dominates rounded out by the spice and malt. A delicious beer thats slightly sweet yet has a slight bitter boozy finish

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Photo of The_Bujon
4.58/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The Classic is just that, a true 'Classic', if you want a beer that typifies dark Belgian ale, this is it.

Pours a beautiful deep and full mahogany coloured body, with a two fingered head.
The head doesn't last too long which is a real shame because on first pour, this is the best looking beer you will find.

Aroma is lovely, really get those spiced figs, prunes and a tinge of malt.

Taste is sublime, all the aromas are there on the tongue also, but you get an extra kick of bonfire toffee sweetness, absolutely top drawer.

Feel is a slight blip on the otherwise perfect scorecard, while it leaves a lovely taste lingering in the aftertaste, it does have a a tiny artificial saccharin feel as it goes down.

Overall, a top top brew, one of the best available without doubt, and it is a toss up between this and the Carolus Christmas in my opinion, not much in it.

If you had to get only one Belgian beer to benchmark all other world beers, just use this, totally spanks the modern craft scene out of the park.

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Photo of Jtee
4.9/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From a 330ml bottle served at 12 degrees Celsius into a Gouden Carolus chalice. Best before date: 18.05.2019 – I've had the bottle for more than six months.

Look: A fine looking beer indeed. It pours a clear, very dark brown with red highlights. 3cm of dense, creamy beige head remains for 2+ minutes after which it settles into a decent cap. Exceptional lacing.

Smell: "Wow, so interesting" followed by "OMG" and "holy shit". Rich and complex. Malt-forward with significant esters and a deep caramel character. Additional notes of raisins, plums, figs, banana, brown sugar, and chocolate.

Taste: Strong and deep flavour profile with sweetness that is not cloying. Absolutely delicious. Malty-rich with notes of chocolate, raisins, plums, caramel, honey, banana, brown sugar, and tea. The finish is long and sweet with a slight mineral quality.

Feel: Medium-full body with lively carbonation. Smooth, creamy, and round. A pleasant, restrained alcohol warmth.

Overall: Very complex and rich beer. Just wonderful. I don't know what factors are at play but this one's among the best beers I've ever had. Nothing I've tried from Gouden has fallen below excellent which makes them one of my favourite breweries at this time. I may like this even more than the exceptional Rochefort 10. World-class and a must-try if you get a chance.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2016 Vintage

Look: Pours a light, although opaque, brown color with a one finger head of beige foam that settles down quickly and leaves no lacing.

Aroma: Not too strong on the nose. Mostly chocolate roasted malt, akin to sweet milk chocolate and dry, powdered cocoa with a backdrop of bittersweet dark chocolate. That's really all I'm getting, but it's probably because my bottle is a little more than a year old.

Taste: Rich, but not cloying notes of sweet chocolate and dry cocoa nibs. There are some hints of candied raisins, caramel and plums in the background. A little bit of yeasty funk here and there along the lines of clove and white pepper. . . maybe some very mild banana, but it's mostly an afterthought. Some dry, floral bitterness just to round things out midpalate. It's a fairly straightforward beer. Not incredibly complex or intriguing, but what it does offer is done well.

Feel: Very clean and light on the palate, with no overtly hot alcoholic profile, and again the sweetness is not to that sickeningly saccharine degree. For the style, the body is light, but not thin. I would be remiss to imply the beer is watery. Mid-Heavy carbonation. Somewhat bubbly. Rather thirst quenching.

Overall: This beer treads the line on the "too sweet" category just barely, but the flavors are skillfully blended together here so it works. Not bad at all. If you like a sweeter BDSA, especially if you're looking for one with strong flavors of chocolate this is worth a shot. I enjoyed this quite a bit, but I have had more impressive interpretations of the style.

Rating: [B+] Great. 3.88/5

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Photo of REDAMI
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into Westvleteren chalice.

L - Red-brown pour with a thin ecru foam.

S - Raisins, cinnamon, brown bread, molasses, sweet on the nose.

T - Prunes, fig, creamy butterscotch, cinnamon, treacle bitterness, toasted grain.

F - Smooth, easy on the carbonation. The alcohol is hidden, but hints at its strength at the end.

A solid BSDA. Slightly sweet, but comfortably so.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle from a mixed 4-pack picked up at the LCBO late last year. Best before May 18 2019 and served slightly chilled.

Pours a deep-hued mahogany brown with brick red highlights; meanwhile, seated atop is a half-centimeter of smooth, soapy, light beige-tinted head that weakens and wilts within a matter of minutes. A thin collar remains, but not much else. Sponge toffee, treacle and figgy, raisin-y fruit cake on the nose, with hints of prune, chocolate and some herbal anise, with some spicy notes that I can't quite put my finger on.

The first sip reveals this brew's true character - it's bold and flavourful, with a rich, dark malt sweetness that is somewhat reminiscent of a German bock. Sweet flavours of molasses and toffee are immediately apparent, with dark fruit flavours sweeping across the palate soon after - there's fig, prune, raisin, and even some black cherry and brown pear. Subtle notes of cocoa and cola are interrupted by a yeasty, herbal finish with hints of licorice and clove; lingering herbal, bittersweet aftertaste with a light brushing of alcohol warmth. Fairly saccharine overall, but that's par for the style (and the finish does keep things at least kinda balanced). Full-bodied, or at least in that neighbourhood; the carbonation is restrained and just about perfect for this style IMO, providing a moderately crisp bite.

FInal Grade: 4.28, a very solid A-. It's always a pleasure to sip a strong Belgian dark ale that is as well-made as Gouden Carolus Classic. The molasses, toffee and dark fruit flavours are both rich, satisfying sensations on the palate, while the presence of chocolate and herbal notes ensure an additional layer of complexity. An excellent beer - not necessarily the pinnacle of the style, but still highly recommended to all BAs with an appreciation for Belgian darks and quads. Wish this one was as easy to find in Ontario as, say, Chimay Blue or Rochefort 8.

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Photo of Yoann
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a snifter
A - Brown with a light foam
S - Some roasty malts with herbal and spicy hops
T - Perfect balance of the aromas
M - Correctly carbonated
O - A good example of a Belgian dark ale, nothing is out of place, this can be used as a reference.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled and possibly bottle conditioned
Pours a dark brown cola body with decent enough tan head
Big molasses and treacle aroma.
Chocolate and pear flavour
Solid amazing dark beer

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Photo of Zet
3.81/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Brown colour with an amber hue and a decent and steady head of foam. The smell is very promising: buttery, with flavours like caramel, chocolate, malt, alcohol, liquorice and hops. The taste however does not deliver: it is not bad, but it is too sweet in my opinion, and with that masking a lot of flavours. I taste chocolate, malt and caramel, but mostly molasses. Mouth feel is smooth, heavy bodied and easy too drink. Would have been a great beer, if it wasn't for the sweetness...

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Photo of taxandbeerguy
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle served at cellar temperature into a chalice. Been hanging onto this bottle for about 3 months.

Appearance - dark brown, opaque and pours a glorious finger and a half of tan head. The head retention is impressive and leaves behind a giant swath of lacing,

Smell - sweet all the way with hint of molasses and caramel with a giant fruit addition. Cherries, apples and especially pears stand out here.

Taste - quite sweet again with cherries and pears dominating. Slight malt flavors of marshmallows and caramel. Belgian yeast and the booze content isn't too much.

Mouthfeel - smooth, chewy and heavy bodied with soft carbonation and surprisingly easy drinking.

Overall - a really good Strong Belgian Dark Ale. One of the better ones on the market, and certainly worth a try and even more so if you like orchard and dark fruits in the taste of your strong Belgians.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think this beer is underrated here. It's really a great beer. It has the complexity of a quadrupel but it's much more drinkable. It's o lot on caramel, dark fruits (prunes and figs mostly), spices and esters. Great beer

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Photo of kitschiguy
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle / 8.5%

Poured a nice deep reddish brown - head is a typical belgian; rocky, off white and lingering.

Malty sweet nose with spice, caramel, toffee..

Palate has dried fruit, fig, toffee and brown sugar and a great mouthfeel. Very nice. Perhaps a little sweet. Not boozy.

Overall a very good beer and highly recommended for the style.

I've got the Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw 2015 & '15 to try also - lookiing forward to those.

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Photo of scootny
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Lovely dark liquid. Plump head and sheets of lace. Sweet malty nose. Lots of dark fruits. Raisins,dates,figs. Some overripe banana. Fusel alcohol wafts in sweetly. Great taste. Rich and sweet malt. Those dark fruits I mentioned. Light molasses. Cloves and spices. Light earthy hop bitterness. Surprisingly light feel given the weight. The beer's richness balances the gently crisp carbonation. A great fall and winter companion. Yum

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Photo of sherillc
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aromas of stewed fruit, baking spices, honey and vanilla. Flavours of honey, cloves, raisins and a nice herbal bitterness that almost reminds me of amari. Very light foam, ample carbonation.

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Photo of Cramshawbar
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A wonderful beer, a classic indeed, setting the stage for their special Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw release, which is one of the best beers.
Certainly, out of the four beer found in the taster's pack here in Toronto, this is the best. Try it today!

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Photo of drmeto
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L:
-pours a clear brown with ruby tinges and a big,foamy,sand-coloured head
-low to medium carbonation visible
S:
-caramel,toffee,strawberries,chocolate,plums,nutty
T:
-caramel,toffee,sugar,chocolate,tea,nutty,syrupy,raisins,cola
F:
-medium carbonation
-light to medium body
-no alcohol detectable
O:
Tastes more like an English Strong Ale rather than a typical Belgian Dark.
I really like this.

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Photo of Silke_Neryn
4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful juxtaposition between a doppelbock and a classic Belgian Dark.

In a way, it feels completely new, in others, it's like a gathering of the oldest of friends.

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Photo of Dzu
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 0.33 bottle into chalice.
L: Turbid deep rown color wih a no foam head.
S: Plums, caramel, roasted rye bread, raisin.
T: Sweets , dark fruits.
F: Low carbonation, medium tight.
O: Very good example of bsda. Smells incredible, tastes great.

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Photo of nout72
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

And yet another great Belgian dark ale.
Very smooth and only a bit short on spicyness, in comparison with a Chimay Blue or St. Bernardus Abt 12 or Prior 8. The mouhfeel is fuller and rounder than the Chimay though. The sweetness is ideal, the aftertaste isn't too lingering.
Again, rating beer is ridiculous, because honestly I am not sure if I like this beer better than Chimay or a Rochefort, and really is it important? Price-wise this beer is in the same range as St. Bernardus Abt 12, and slightly pricier than a Chimay.
Let me say that it is good to know that there are many Belgian dark ales I enjoy and I will just pick the one by lowest price or just at random, you certainly never can go wrong with any of them.

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Photo of teromous
3.51/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The back of the bottle has 04/05/2014

Appearance: Dark brown opaque body that shows some lighter shades of brown around the edges as light shines in. The head is this massive fluffy cap of creamy fine bubbles. The head is a light shade of khaki and it has very good head retention and lacing.

Aroma: The head tends to obscure the aroma quite a bit. I ended up having to work the glass a bit to get any real noticeable aroma. Mostly it is just this really sweet smelling caramel aroma that is even a bit buttery.

Taste: That sweet caramel makes an appearance in the flavor as well. It doesn't taste buttery like it smells. There is just a touch of a woody character and some maple syrup but the flavor as a whole is very watered down and light. No bitterness at any point while drinking the beer.

Mouthfeel: It is extremely velvety from the carbonation but the body is surprisingly light. It doesn't have much of a finish. There is really no finish at all; it just ends abruptly.

Overall: It's not a very impressive Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It feels extremely light and at times while drinking it even felt thin. I am having this beer a little over two years from the date listed on the bottle. I would try a fresher bottle to see if maybe more flavor is present. It is still a very enjoyable beer to drink and the delicacy of the beer is applaudable but overall I think it wouldn't be a beer I would buy more than one of.

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Photo of OlaB
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Black color, gives of a good top of head, really nice lacings on the sides of the glass

A: Raisins, cherrys,roasted malts, some hints of cocoa and chocolate

T&F: Starts with malts that gives a nice sweetness , goes over to the fuity flavours in the middle. Dark fruits, cherrys and burned sugar, The flavours are very well balanced in this beer. alcohol content are very well masked.
The finishing and aftertaste is a nice bitterness that last for a good while and almost reminds me of cherrys

O: A great belgian dark ale that i enjoyed every sip off. It was also great to finally try one of the carolus beers since i heard a lot about it but not been able to find before today

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Photo of Beginner2
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After a moderate pour, Looks give me a lucious "yum."
Smells make we want to try it (I'm partial to dark malt and dried fruit in the winter... and a really effective Belgian yeast.)
Tastes confirm (again) that I've made a good re-purchase... as Tastes hold true to the Smell.

OA: Would I have this again? Too late. I've already had it at least three times before this review. And I certainly will have it again by itself. It is a humbling experience. It is one of the dozen beers that is too good to have with my cooking.

Classic also is listed in the 1001 and deserves to be there... twice. It also is reviewed in Roger Protz' " 300 Beers To Try Before You Die!" Not only do the pros like GC Classic .... so do I... and the roll continues.

MJ's 1999 "Guide gave it 3 of 4 stars and said "At its best, it is a beer of great complexity and some subtlety: with soothing malt, restrained fruitiness, and a delicately dry, sourish finish." (I agree with all but the sour part.) MJ's "Great Beers of Belgian" gave three pages of copy -- plus two photos -- to Het Anker... very unusual, showing his Like. He does note "a version exported to the United States is, and emerges with much more complex, chocolatey, flavours." (So, that explains it.)

And just in case you want to know what the standard-bearer of the next generation had to say about the Classic, "The Brewmaster's Table" says Classic has "a pronounced rum-raisin aroma. The beer sneaks softly onto the palate and then blooms into a sweet, raisiny splendor... then exits drily... An astonishingly elegant beer that doesn't put a foot wrong."

You can decide who reviews best. As for me, I'm getting another Classic for the cellar.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Ommegang goblet.
A - Pours a dark reddish brown with a tan head that does not go away and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.
S - I mostly smell dried raisins or prunes.
T - Flavor is more raisins and dark cherry.
M - Mouth feel is medium, carbonation is above medium. Alcohol is not noticeable.
O - I'm a sucker for Belgians, and this did not disappoint. Let this warm a bit so all the flavors come out. Het Anker has become a new favorite brewer for me.

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 911 ratings