Gouden Carolus Classic | Brouwerij Het Anker

412 Reviews
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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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-13-2002

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Reviews: 412 | Ratings: 878
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 DenisKolkin
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

-pours a clear brown with ruby tinges and a big,foamy,sand-coloured head
-low to medium carbonation visible
-medium carbonation
-light to medium body
-no alcohol detectable
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 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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Photo of chinchill
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

cellared 330 ml bottle from Asheville (NC) served in a Belgian snifter. June 2013 bottling date.

Appearance: just OK, with a rather weak head over a dark, hazy brown body. Spotty lacing.

Aroma and Flavor: Superb, especially the aroma. Loads of toffee, dark ripe fruits and dried fruit. The flavor does have a touch more alcohol than optimal but I can't fault the enticing aroma.

Feel: medium carbonation in a medium-light body. 8.5% ABV is mostly hidden.

O: Excellent! Allowed to warm but continued to improve, gaining complexity, with further warming.

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

From bottle, pours a hazey murky dark brown with a small tan head. Aroma dark malts, prune, brown sugar, toffee. Taste prune, caramel, brown sugar, candy, toffee. Very nice.

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Photo of jonb5
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, poured into Kasteel goblet.

A: Very dark amber, just about opaque, one finger tanned head, moderate retention, decent amount of lacing.

S: Prune, not an overly pronounced aroma.

T: Prune, molasses, burnt candy sugar, no hint of booze.

M: Light creamy texture, not too much carbonation.

O: Everything that is to be expected from a BSDA, without doing anything to stand out from the crowd, hid the booze really well.

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Photo of gautch726
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An almost perfect beer. It pours an umber red-gold with a thick offwhite head. This beers strong point for me is the taste. It has a perfect balance of fruit and malt with minimal bitter aftertaste. It hits you hard and falls off easy. Well done by the brewer.

Feel of the beer could've been a bit heavier, but still nice. The smell had too much off a bite for my taste. Great beer overall.

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Photo of _drummer_
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Overall, a great beer. This was actually a bit sweet mixed with a darker beer flavor, which I really enjoyed. At first, I was thinking there was some sort of liqueur mixed in or something. The smell actually wasn't my favorite, but the taste was good across the palate, so that made up for it. In spite of being pretty dark, it was smooth and not too oppressive. I'd get this again, for sure.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown, almoust black with a two finger high, beige head. A lot of lacing stays on the glass.

Nose: Brown sugar, vanilla, caramel malt, molasses, dark berries, dried fruit, spice and toffee.
Taste: Caramel, toffee, roasted malt, dark fruit, molasses and brown sugar.
Body: Full body. Medium carbonation. Soft, rich mouthfeel.

A great strong ale! Love the sweet but not oversweet soft taste and the beatiful nose. Only 2.39 Euro at Beergium a bargain !

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Photo of sokol_1993
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 330ml bottle in a Biere de Miel tulip at Monk's Cafe, Philly

Look: not too much head, dark black
Smell: a lot of sugary, molasses smell. Reminding me of Ayinger Celebrator, interestingly.
Taste: sweet, much tastes of molasses. Some faint dark cherry taste.
Feel: The liquid is very chewy, lusty. High viscosity
Overall: It's a really good BSDA with sweet taste. I'll have more of it in the future.

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
4.11 out of 5 based on 878 ratings.
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