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Gouden Carolus Classic | Brouwerij Het Anker

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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: 404 | Ratings: 853
Photo of Sammy
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

better than a wine, better than a port. Beautiful wine dark. Like a great barleywine, and can be aged for years more.Gorgeous aroma, cherries. Sweet raisin, plum, light brown sugar dry mix. Complementary spices of clove and cinammon with cherry. Can drink anytime for satisfaction. Medium mouthfeel, not overpowering.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour for the 4th Annual LA Beer Week Beer Festival at Union Station in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and spices. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild 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 that is drinkable but basic.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a dark brown color with a fluffy tan colored head on top. The retention isn't too bad here along with the lacing. The smell of the beer is lightly malty with some roasted aromas. The taste of the beer was pretty good, lots of malty flavors in there along with some burnt flavors. The mouthfeel was nice, lightly creamy feel along with some good carbonation. Overall this beer was good, I would probably try it again one day.

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Photo of metter98
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer poured cloudy dark amber-brown in color into a goblet. A light amount of carbonation is visible. The head doesn't last that long, but some lacey patterns of bubbles linger on the surface.
S: There's a significant amount of malty sweetness in the aroma, which contains notes of cherries, plums and prunes.
T: The taste is relatively sweet and has flavors of dark fruits--as in the aroma--plus notes of caramel malts and hints of spices.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate, very smooth and rather thick.
D: The alcohol is well hidden so it's very easy to consume, although this beer is better as one that is sipped.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ummmm...A fabulous beer at all ends and on all levels. Serious in its, depth, power, and finess. Pours a rusty brown / maroon hue with a muddled haze and stubborn, rocky head retention. Smells strongly of fruity malts, tartness, and alcohol. Very sweet on the dried and ripe fruit flavors: plumbs, figs, dates, apples, pears, berries, and licorice. Big spiciness helps the alcohols and sweetness to fuse seamlessly. Full and rich on the palate without becoming thick or chewy. Remaining sweet, spicy, and tart through to the aftertaste. Finishes a balances sticky sweet with fusal alcohols that persist more in the aftertaste than at any other moment. Still, a fabulous beer and a joy to savour.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, staid and ever so stoic Old World label.

This beer pours a clear, dark brassy amber hue, with a fistful of puffy, densely foamy, and eventually creamy beige head, which leaves some rather pervasive Swiss cheese lace around the glass as it gradually melts away.

It smells of semi-sweet, bready caramel, boozy black fruit, green yeast, a touch of clove/coriander spice, wet leather, and meek earthy, leafy hops. The taste is hefty, yet well meted-out caramel/toffee malt, spicy molasses, brown sugar, tangy dark orchard fruit, a huddling yeastiness, and surprisingly fresh leafy, earthy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, just a wee lilting frothiness pervading, the body sadly on the wan side of medium weight, and sugary, fruity, and smooth by those very same swords. It finishes off-dry and warm, just, as the booze barely seems capable of taking the edge off of the lingering malty sweetness.

A nice, strong, fruity BSDA, with a well integrated and elevated ABV. Not a whole lot more to wax eloquent about here - this is just some good, good stuff, full stop. Funny how that is with these old-school tropes for a given style - ain't no equivocatin' with this one, no sir.

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Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark caramel color with a nice frothy head and plenty of lacing

Smell: Caramel apples, cherries and some nice rum soaked raisins

Taste: Sweet toffee flavors waft across the tongue; followed by some bandaid phenols; after the swallow, there is chocolate, cherries, raisins and prunes

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and well carbonated, in the Belgian style

Drinkability: A very nice Belgian Strong Dark; not as rich and deep as some, but definitely worth a look

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a dark color beer with a thick foamy brown head with excellent retention. Aroma of figs with sweet alcohol notes and typical Belgian yeast is easily identifiable and greatly enjoyable. Taste is quite rich with figs and plum sweetness with a thick body and warm alcohol note mix with lots of yeast. Very enjoyable though not my favourite from this fine brewery.

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Photo of kojevergas
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bottle into a Gouden Carolus goblet in the Salthouse pub, Galway, Ireland.

A: Pours a one finger head of wonderful cream and thickness. Dark brown. Hazy. Very attractive. The head retains decently.

Sm: Alcohol, wood barrel, caramel, lots of nut. I'm excited. The smell itself is a strong one.

T: Nuts, nuts, and... nuts. Hoppy caramel body with a rustic nut and hop ester finish. Built and blaanced brilliantly. The alcohol doesn't make itself known until it warms the bottom of the esophagus.

Mf: Rolls across the tongue. Crisp smack-thine-lips delight. Nearly perfect; too smooth but nary more than a gry.

Dr: Lovely, but expensive. Be careful of your wallets, lads - this one grows on you.

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Photo of zeff80
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a cloudy, dark, dark amber color with a two-finger, thick, tan head of foam. It had lengthy retention and left soapy sheets of lace.

S - It smelled of currants, raisin and other dark dried fruits. Very sweet malty aroma.

T - This is a sweet malty brew. Strong dried fruit flavors - mostly raisin and plum. Not much bitterness at all.

M - It was smooth and dry with a chewy mouthfeel. A medium to full-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good Belgian Dark. At times it was almost too sweet and too much.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Churchkey yesterday. Served in a mini-snifter.

Pours a fairly-dark brown color with some crimson highlights. The nose brings forward a hefty amount of dark fruits along with some brown-sugar character. Dark fruits galore. Cherry and grape there as well. Flavor is lightly-sweet with plenty of fruit character and a creamy feel to back it all up. Chewy with moderate carbonation. Really well-done version of the style.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown with a blooming head that leaves some great lacing,aroma is orangy and softly spiced.Taste as well has nice orange flavor with some real nice spicey notes.A light sour note in the finish that actually went well with the malty sweetness of this beer.a classic and joy to drink.

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle into chalice, bottled on 12/12/2012. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy deep ruby brown color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of huge raisin, prune, fig, apricot, pear, apple, caramel, molasses, candi sugar, toast, clove, brown bread, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Incredible aromas with great complexity and balance of malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, prune, apricot, fig, pear, apple, caramel, molasses, toast, brown bread, candi sugar, clove, light pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of raisin, prune, apricot, fig, pear, apple, caramel, molasses, toast, clove, brown bread, light pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and robustness of dark malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy, smooth, and lightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome Belgian strong dark ale! All around great complexity, balance, and robustness of dark malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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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 NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The classic Gouden Carolus pours a hazy, dark chestnut brown body beneath a frothy head of light tan foam that holds well and leaves some nice, thin Brussels lace.
Once it warms a bit, the nose is quite welcoming, and offers darkened brown sugar, some dark fruit (mainly raisins), and a spritz of orange.
In the mouth it's delicately zesty on the tongue with a very fine, natural carbonation and medium body.
The flavor offers a briliant, sugary mix of raisins and light toffee with a hint of orange-chocolate in the background. The yeast also tosses in some bubblegum-like phenolics (sugar and clove-like spice) that turns it a touch candyish. Some herbal hops appear at the swallow and lend it an earthy, mineralish edge that helps to round out its candyish character. The bitterness is a touch limited as might be expected, but it punches through the malt midway, and there's enough there to keep it from becoming cloying in the long-lingering finish. The alcohol, although it's only 8%, does appear once it warms, but it never becomes excessive and actually adds a touch of spiciness that's welcome against the candyish malt. Quite nice.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle - $3.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out an opaque, darkened walnut brown body with a modest-sized, short-lived, ivory-hued head.

Smell: A bright, spirited nose, smelling of muscovado sugar, chocolate, freshly-grated spices, rum raisin ice cream, and fruit jams both lightly tart and sweet.

Taste: A sweet, sweet beginning, with chocolate stirred up with sticky, sugary treacle. A slideshow of various tastes carouses the tongue: sweet cherries, dates, macerated raisins, black licorice, and a teensy weensy hint of spearmint gum. After some minutes, it starts to even hint at Mr. Pibb. Notable alcohol warmth on the fruity, semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-high carbonation.

Drinkability: I felt I had truly lived this beer, and not just chugged it down. Bold and flavorful, it makes for a lovely early evening sipper.

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

Modestly murky russet with blurry orange peel margins. The caramel nougat colored head is frothycreamy, but firm enough to persist and to look damn good while doing so. It develops a 'melted scoop of ice cream look' as it deflates and deposits a decent amount of lace in jagged rings.

The nose is exceptional, even if it's as much dubbel as BSDA. That is, it isn't as spicy or as alcoholic as many BSDAs. It is nicely fruity and earthy though. Brown mushy apples and figs lead the way, giving the impression that the beer may be more than a little sweet. There's also more yeastiness than I initially gave it credit for. I like complex aromas that don't give up all of their secrets with the first few sniffs. This is just such a beer.

I have a feeling that this bottle has been aged for a good, long while (only about 6 months by me). With no date or code on the bottle or label, there's no way to know for sure. It tastes like a beautifully composed, infinitely complex, seamlessly melded, well rounded, delicious BSDA that drinks at 6.0% rather than the 8.0% indicated on the main label or the 8.5% indicated on the neck label. Odd that.

The beer is beautifully constructed, with flavors of bruised apple and pear, ripe fig, tobacco, wood, toasted walnut and even a little anise for good measure. The dizzying constellation of seemingly disparate flavor elements come together beautifully, and the whole is made all the more impressive since it's wrapped tightly in a caramelized candi sugar cocoon. Exquisite.

The mouthfeel is silkily medium with a nod toward medium-full. There is nothing whatsoever that is heavy or ponderous about this beer... it is suppleness personified. Perhaps that's a function of the perfect amount of enlivening carbonation or perhaps it's simply a function of the supreme quality of the beer in general. Doesn't matter, I like it. A lot.

Gouden Carolus Classic (D'or according to my bottle) is one of the best BSDAs that I've had the pleasure to drink. I wish I knew the bottling date so that I could determine whether aging had nothing or everything to do with the beautiful beer that is now in a far, far better place than the little brown bottle that formerly contained it. This one is worth every penny.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Gouden Carolus chalice.

Did I miss New Gouden Carolus? Damn. Well, at least they're going back to the better-tasting recipe. It pours a clear dark ruby brown topped by a short-lived finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises figs, raisins, rye bread, red grapes, nutmeg, brown sugar, and a hint of booze. The taste leans heavily on the dark fruits, with the spices and a healthy dose of bready yeast coming in the back door. The body is starkly medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a rather smooth feel. Overall, a very solid and tasty BSDA, one to revisit regularly.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice brown, and more of a ruby color when held up to the light. A one finger, light brown head forms and has nice staying power.

S: I smell some banana and dark fruit as well as some spices and brown sugar.

T: This is a pretty good tasting beer! There is a nice flavor from the dark malts. There are also some cloves and dark fruit, specifically raisins.

M/D: Medium bodied, but smooth easy drinking. Can't taste the alcohol, and glad I picked this bottle up.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is chestnut brown with an inch of beige head that coats the glass with sticky lacing. The aroma offers brown bread, yeast, light sweetness. Delicious flavor. Incredibly smooth on the palate with alcohol masterfully hidden. Subtle notes of banana and fruity sweetness lingers in the aftertaste. Overall, a terrific brew.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the 330 ml bottle, I picked up one of these from a four pack because I love their tripel and dubbel so much. Appears a ruddy mahogany brown with a nice sized beige head forming thick above the rim of my tulip chalice. Fine scattered Belgian lacing lines my glass, pretty impressive look to it. Aromatics offer up brown sugar with alcohol infused raisins and a touch of faint anise in the background with some Belgian candi sugar adding to the sweetness and level of fermentation this brew has. Not boozy in the nose in anyway, but the flavor has a nice rolling profile of semi tart and sweet berry jam notes, more raisin accents compliment the malt profile. Kind of a dry yeasty nuttiness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied but not as effervescent as the bigger bottles offerings from Gouden Carolus quite airy with sticky cloying edges from all of the sweetness. Drinkability is decent a complext Belgian style brown ale, that I enjoyed but would much rather enjoy a slightly hoppier American version without the extra alcohol and sweetness.

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

Came in a bottle mislabeled as "Carolus D'or", though the neck label read "Classic".

Pours a very deep and dark amber with a slight bit of cloud on it. Big head of course. Some lacing too. On the nose it is mildly sweet. The flavor is excellent. I would describe it as mature instead of mild. Kind of hearty on the start with a smooth fruit start, and then later you get a bit of the 8% alcohol, and then on the end you get a roasted flavor. Complex, but smooth, and not over-pronounced as a whole. Definitely worth going back to. I’d love to get some more of these and lay them down for a while.

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Photo of jwc215
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1pt. 9.4 oz. bottle into a glass chalice:

Pours dark mahogany with a thin white head that becomes reminiscent of pond scum but evens out with a gentle swirl. A few traces of dotted lacing sticks to the glass.

The smell is of coriander, orange peel, brown sugar, gum and caramel. Almost too much going on - and there's a whiff of grass and mustiness.

The taste is of sweet caramel. This is quite the herbal/medicinal one, being heavy on the coriander. Orange peel and a slight barnyard mustiness enter in. Sweetness is balanced by tart as it progresses. Alcohol noticeable more in the aftertaste than in the taste itself.

The body is light. Spiciness hangs on. There's a slight astringency.

It's tasty enough to sip on for awhile. I can't say that it's one of my favorites from Belgium - spices are almost too much - But, I wouldn't mind having it again!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.85/5  rDev +18%
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 feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy mahongoany hue, cool woody brown, with a with a nice bit of froth, if short-lived.

Aroma, sour, citric, and spicy, from the start, lemon peel, clove, and pepper.

Taste: big, brisk, fruity blast on the palate, softly fading into a firm malt base. Cherries, berrries, bananas, melon, all accompanied by a tidy peppery kick on the side, and the flavor never fades, nestles well in the mouth, offering a resilient, bright tingle on the tongue.
Great texture, wonderful play on the palate, a genial joust of tastes in the mouth. Fruity, to the point of being wine-like, but with plenty of it's own individual charms to make it a supple, special little thing in the mouth.

Very special ale, hunt it down, if you must!

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
4.11 out of 5 based on 853 ratings.
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