Gouden Carolus Classic | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic
Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 421 | Ratings: 913
Photo of corby112
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark purplish brown with a foamy beige head. Wonderful aroma of chocolate, raisin, plum, grape, toffee, fig, and spice. Extremely smooth drinking because of the excellent balance of sweetness, spice and chocolate maltiness. One of my favorite beers.

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Photo of rudyarmand
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I tried this tasty beverage at Cafe Gollem with two of my travelling companions. The bartender who we met the previous evening was off duty, but was spending a couple of hours drinking with his friends. I greeted him and asked him why he was on the wrong side of the bar and he laughed and said that he was a civilian that evening and enjoying some beer just like we were planning to do. He offered us a taste of his beer, Goudon Corolus Classic, which was a friendly thing to do, and we were astonished at the great plum-like fragrance and splendid taste. We each had two bottles each and decided that it was the finest beer we had ever tried in our lives! They had the Westy 12 available too that night, but we stayed with the Goudon Corolus Classic because it was so delicious!

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Photo of Jtee
4.9/5  rDev +18.4%
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 SmashPants
4.87/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle: solid brown 330mL bottle, decent label to boot. Better than your average Belgian beer package - don't know what the name means, but I like it.

Appearance: pours a slightly hazy dark copper-brown with hints of ruby against the light. A great froth of a beige head bursts up and settles to a solid cap fairly quickly. Solid lacing too.

Aroma: a confident nose - pungent and sweet, quite complex to boot. Sour cherries, citric and heavy fruits, a touch of lemon peel and some spices - this aroma has it all. This has to be one of the best smelling beers I have come across to date - I just hope the flavours come through on the palate...

Taste:  ... and do they ever! Sweet up front with those fruits and some chocolate and heavy treacle. The sherry spice and cherry sourness hang about too. Lovely!

Aftertaste: most of the flavours linger through, but with some warming alcohol finally coming through. A marvellously well-rounded beer.

Mouth feel: a reasonably full-bodied beer with moderate carbonation to carry those flavours through magnificently. Slightly dry on the finish, suiting those sherry flavours.

Overall: an exceptional, exceptional beer. Full flavoured and super complex, with just the right amount of each flavour jockeying for favour. Hands-down one of the best beers I have ever had. The only thing holding me back is the AU$140+ per case price (2013), but even at this price I believe it is worth it. Just have to make it a special occasion. Damn peasant wages - I'd love to have this one regularly.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into an official Gouden Carolus glass.

A super creamy head can be formed of light brown toffee on the slow pour. Looks whipped up and frothy. Body is a gorgeous chestnut dark brown and red hues.

Bouquet is a candy store treat. Sweet plump raisins and brown sugar. Malt dense and hint of small quinine like tonic. In one short word, fabulous.

Taste is, just joy. So incredibly light but with a dense coating. Faint bitter chocolate in the palate mixes with an almost roasty dark malt, giving to brown sugar and figs. Stupidly velvet texture coats everywhere. Just a hint of carbonation and sting. No sense of boozy alcohol not even a hint!

This beer never fails me i've had it so many times for years. It's just nearly perfect.

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Photo of Serge
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours the colour of dark milk chocolate with a disappearing lacing of white head. Smells of thick caramel syrup, brown sugar and Belgian yeast. The mouthfeel is remarkable; thick, velvety and sweet. Tastes of peppery carbonation at the front of the palate, deliciously sweet caramel in the middle and the trademark banana/clove flavour from the Belgian yeast right at the back of the palate.

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Photo of Bisho
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The classic is just what it says on the bottle. A CLASSIC!
I do love my BSDA's and this one is up there with the best of them. The thing that sets this one apart is the ever so slight licorice flavour on the back of the palate. I was gobsmacked that such a strong flavour could remain hidden inside this slightly sweet, malty gem without overpowering it. This alone makes the balance of the beer impeccable!

A must try if you like this type of beer!

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Photo of jrallen34
4.77/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I drank this from a 11.2 oz bottle into a Gouden chalice.

This beer pours a dark brown with little to no head.

The aroma is very light malts, you can totally smell the inverted sugar in the form of caramel, awesome.

The taste is super malty as well showing off nice caramel/molasses.

The feel is great and this is super easy to drink.

This beer is awesome, I would encourage all to drink this.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a large tulip shaped glass with an almost opaque dark brown color and a huge 4+ inch tan head. Lots of lace. Right away the smell jumps out at you with brown sugar, dried dates, figs and malty undertones. The mouthfeel is a dry, medium bodied and fully coating goodness. Lots of dried fruits come to mind in the flavor, again dried dates and figs. The alcohol is not that obvious at first, it doesn't hang over the ale. Nor does it compete with the rest of the flavor profile, but it's in there! After a medium finish, the alcohol makes itself known with a warming feeling in the belly. All-around there is alot to appreciate in this ale, but the exceptional balance is what makes it shine for me.

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Photo of PHSCAPT
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A – Poured from a caged and corked bomber at 55F into a Chimay goblet. Pours clear but not clarified deep brown with orange aurora borealis when held to light, with a 1 finger creamy off white head. Nice lacing.
S – perhaps not appetizing but the smell reminds me of silage. If you know what that is without googling, you know exactly the smell.
T – dark dried fruits initially followed by carmel tones and finishing with an ever so slight medicinal taste
M – remarkably smooth, contributes to a 4 on the burp scale with 10 being a cavernous belch.
O – Rebuy. This was my first Belgian a while back and it literally changed the way I felt about beer. I actually liked the way this tasted without having to “develop a taste” for it. Plus the fact that it’s about double the alcohol of your standard American horse kidney product is just better. There so much more complexity here than in most of our mass produced stuff and no hint of bitterness for which one supposedly needs to "develop a taste."

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Photo of Bunnyhop
4.74/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A hazy, medium dark brown-red Belgian Ale with a moderate, brownish, effervescent, quickly dissapating head. The smell reminds me of Madiera and butterscotch. The taste I can only describe as Madiera-like too, but also peppery. The texture is firm in my mouth. I really like Belgian beers, and this one is fabulous, it has a wonderful combination of taste and smell.

Label on bottle says 8% ABV.

(source: Paradise Alley, Jacksonville, FL)

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Photo of Yotus
4.73/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Uncorked a 750m bottle and poured a healthy dose into a chalice glass. Big, off white head holds up well for a beer whose ABV is 8.5%. Beautiful mahogany color with red tinges. The head hangs around for the entire session, and laces very nicely down the side of the glass.

The nose is full of malt complexity. Tons of dark fruit...raisins, plums....rich and malty with some biscuity overtones. There is an earthy spiciness that I believe is alcohol based.

Pleasant creamy mouthfeel and a nice gentle carbonation which makes this potent brew extremely drinkable. Body is deceptively light, and the strength of this beer is evident is a warm finish that is quick and clean Not overly sweet by any means. I also get some slighty nutty (almond) notes that could indicate some age on this bad boy....but in a good way.

Highly recommended to afficiandos of classic Belgian strong dark ales.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.73/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at the Alibi Room in Vancouver.

A: Mahogany coloration and 1/3" head that disappeared within about a minute.

S: Alcohol, cherries and cocoa.

T: Cherries and alcohol. A boozy yet smooth finish.

M: Medium thickness with a high level of fine carbonation.

O: World class, an excellent beer I would have again in a heartbeat. Very well balanced. If Gulden Draak and Chimay Blue popped each others cherries and had a lovechild it would be this beer.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.69/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Slightly cloudy copper color with a finger of head that, sadly, diminishes to a thin layer in moments. Leaves a decent lacing.

S- If you'd like to know what this smells like, go download the "bjcp guidelines" and read belgian strong dark ale. That's it. If you don't feel like it, then I'll describe a bit: Plum, fig, raisin, melba toast, a hint of peppery alcohol, and some dark malt sweetness, along with much, much more. This thing is a bombshell.

T- Much like the aroma, in fitting exactly to style as well. A slight bitterness comes out to balance all the malty, bready, yeasty and spicy flavors, but the finish is still slightly sweet with just a hint of dryness. There's also just a hint of licorice right toward the finish, but not part of the finish proper. Absolutely first class.

M- Fairly high carbonation, medium body, and a very slightly dry finish accented by the sweet flavor as it goes down. Just a faint hint of alcohol warming.

D- This beer is absolutely wonderful. It's almost... too good to want to drink a lot of. One feels the need to savor.

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Photo of Offa
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy deep red amber, it has a med-small tan head slowly shrinking to a foamy ring, no lace.

Aroma is very nice, rich brown bread, sweet plums and stewed fruit, brown sugar, caramelized toast.

Taste is wonderful, zesty spicy-sweet fruits, cherry, berries, plum, wood, caramelized bread crust, overall nice depth and richness. The feel is lively and engaging.

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Photo of Filosoof
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I ordered a Gouden Carolus. That was the only thing the menu card mentioned about this beer.

Getting it, I have to admit that I couldn't find out whether this was the Cuvee van de Keizer, wich I already knew, or something else. I didn't know the Classic yet. So it was quite a blind tasting!

When I was tasting this beer, and the waitress told that this was the classic, I concluded: this one is maybe even beter than the Cuvee. Strange, because the Cuvee is more complex and more expensive? No, I think this one is maybe even beter, because of the lower alcohol. It is more drinkable because of that and level interesting. The mouthfeel is absolutely fabulous! 5.0 overall. This beer is the name Classic worthy.

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Photo of Risser09
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter - 2007 - Cellar temp

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with orange and red highlights. A 1" head is ivory in color.

Smell: A very rich aroma is quite unique. Butter, fresh wood, dark overripe cherries, tanned leather. Sweet black licorice. Outstanding.

Taste: Sweet malts. Fruity flavors of cherry, fig, plum, blackberry and many more. Highly complex with tobacco, leather, sandalwood and candi sugar. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Plenty of sugary sweetness without the alcohol. It is very well hidden. Medium high body. Ample carbonation activity.

Drinkability: I could drink a six pack of this stuff easily. It is so damn tasty. An awesome beer worth seeking out. I will buy more and cellar it.

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Photo of wchesak
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a Abbaye du Val-Dieu glass

A - foamed up a bit when i opened the bottle, had to do a two stage pour as the head was massive, cream in color with a slight tan tint, as it dissipated it left a decent lacing...the color was brown like the bottle it came in with the slightest red tint to it

S - i pick up - nutmeg, clove, fig, dried banana, bubble gum from yeast, and the slightest alcohol, i could really sit here forever and sniff this and probably come up with something new, its amazing

T - malted sweetness of dark fruit and molasses followed into the yeasty flavors of the banana and bubble gum

M - lots of carbonation, thick but not overwhelming, finishing strong, flavor lingers which is a great thing

D - i have had most of the other gouden carolus and enjoyed greatly, esp their christmas, however the immense variety of flavors and smells might push this passed all them and towards the top of my favorite belgians

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Photo of ckollias
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a Beligan Tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark ruby-amber hue with an off-white, 2-finger, frothy head that slowly dissipates leaving a great trail and solid persistent lace.

S: Sweet dark fruity aroma and malt aroma with a toffee background.

T: Similar to the smell there are some dark fruit notes with a smooth toffee and malt flavor that has a bitter ending. Alcohol is present in the end enough to give a slow burn aftertaste.

M: Thick body and medium carbonation.

O: Superb Strong Dark Belgium Brew – one of the best I’ve had.

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Photo of NoonanDBarbarian
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First I have to mention that I am trying a 2000 edition and todays date is 6-25-08. The glasses appearance was a very clear red color that held good carbonation and head. The smell seemed to hold the same attributes as the Grand Cru (almost like licorice). The taste was exceptionally smooth. It was almost as it skipped the aroma and goes start to the Flavoring and finish. To me the beer felt very nice like every other Belgian Ale.
If you can find this beer I recommend getting it. Definitely one of the best beers I have had

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Photo of mscudder
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer well over a year ago and loved it. Having it again with a more primed palette. Poured into a snifter.

A - A beautiful deep opaque black body with a royal ivory head. Solid.

S - Vivid nose on this one. Caramel apples, cherries, fresh spices, chocolate and some smooth malts. Fantastic complexity with refined balance.

T - What a rich, sweet beer at this level of ABV. Starts with some aggressiveness rich flavor; namely cherries, caramelized sugar and a touch of licorice. Follows with some complexity and a creamy nature which matches the slowing sweetness with perfection. Concludes with just a touch of warmth (I would never blindly guess an ABV above 7%) and a bit of dryness. Truly excellent.

M - A large medium body with average carbonation that compliments the style well.

O - I really love this beer. The sweetness is crisp and delicious while retaining a degree of drinkability. The heavy malt sweetness is a pleasure for a closing drink. Not quite sure I would have this aside from a desert occasion (similar to La Fin Du Monde) but I really enjoy it!

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Photo of vancurly
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dense, off-white head, some bubbling. Deep red/brown colour, no haze.

Initially banana, with yeast notes, dark malts, typical Belgian esters.... some gamey phenolics / forest floor / blue cheese.

Wonderful complexity of flavours, spicy fruit. Musk, stone fruits, licorice all-sorts, raisins, vanilla cream, subtle lemon, toffee apple. It's a mixed bag of sweets.... and a rare 5.0.

Creamy mouthfeel, very slight tartness, and an even slighter bitterness. Has a sweet finish, and only at the very end, a subtle alcohol warmth.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What we have before us is a mesmerizing, rutty, dark brown ale with dark amber highlights, murky with carbonation. A deep, creamy cappuccino head deposits a coat of lacing on the Carolus chalice while a fine film converts it to webbing.

Molasses and bourbon wafts up carrying raisins and figs. This one continuously develops with warmth, proving to be extremely complex. Pumpernickel and earthy aromas immediately greet you upon opening.

Luscious autumn fruits are well balanced as this dark ale follows the aroma. Warming alcohol pushes a long subtle finish. This one tastes like comfort and good times in grandpa's drawing room. Plum pudding and spices are highlights as one gets lost in the depths.

The palate is velvety smooth for this dry, medium bodied ale with perky carbonation and alcohol.

You are taken back to the late 19th century as a captain of industry with cigars and a parlor filled with leather bound books. Sip and savor every ounce as you read or snuggle by a fire. Absolutely amazing. A certain favorite, worthy of returning to again and again.

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4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle. Snifter glass. Enjoyed on jun´12. Pours dark Brown in color with light beige, creamy, lasting crown. Hints of nutmeg liquor, toasted malts, slightly sugary fragancy & yeast to the nose. Sweet toasted malty upfront. Gentle sugary mouthfeel, ripe & dried fruit – dates & raisins- flavors. No hops. Lingers creamy with kind warming ABV. Full body, soft carbonation. Wow!!

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Photo of hefevice
4.59/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. YEAH BABY!! Deep cloudy dark brown (poured in all the yeast) with good head and plenty of lace. Smells DIVINE, sweet dark smooth brown sugar, rum and raisins. Tastes even better, smooth, sweet then dry and crisp. Almost perfect palate with a slightly warm and dry alcoholic finish. God this stuff is good; Trios Pistols sans the slightly off bits. YUM!

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 913 ratings