Gouden Carolus Classic | Brouwerij Het Anker

411 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: 411 | Ratings: 875
Photo of HattedClassic
3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a nice off white head that takes a while to dissipate. The lacing lingers at the edge of the glass and some of the head lies on the top of the beer. The beer itself is an opaque dark brown that looks like toffee.

The beer smell is fairly malty with a bit of Belgian sugar notes as well. The smell has some nice dark fruit notes but they aren't very strong.

The beer taste is much more maltier and fruity with a bit of sugary flavor to it. The dark fruits are much more present and the malty is just as sweet. The taste also has a fleeting earthy note towards the end. There is also a slightly sweet alcohol taste to it and a bit of molasses as well. In addition to the dark fruits, the beer has a pear taste that gets lost.

The mouthfeel is heavy bodied with some biting carbonation. The beer is smooth but feels a bit lighter and watery than it should for the beer type.

Overall, not a bad strong dark ale.

 927 characters

Photo of flyingpig
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle from Beers Of Europe website (£2.89):
An enjoyable beer that proved easy enough to drink but in truth didn't really strike me as a memorable offering or one that I'd be all that likely to go back to in the future. There was nothing wrong with the beer as such, it just seemed to be missing that special something that would have found be rating it higher. This was partially down to the beer following a fairly predictable pattern from nose to taste with the ripe fruits and sweetness staying consistent throughout; a decent beer but there are better Belgian offerings out there to be had.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L: Looks very dark brown with an ivory one finger head.

S: Smells very alcoholic, with notes of dark fruits like plums and figs.

T: Tastes uncomfortably sweet almost not bitter at all, hard to finish like drinking from the mash tun.

F: Medium body with low carbonation.

O: It says that is the best dark beer of the world, I almost cound´t finish it due to it´s overwhelming sweetness.

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

Dark red/brown colour, weak head. Smell: cherry, plums. Taste: cherry, plums, red wine. Very malty and sweet, almost no hops. No match to blue Chimay or Rochefort 8 (painfully sweet for me), but I can understand why some people like it.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

App: pours reddish brown color with off white thick head with fine lacing.

Smell: malty, yeasty, hint of citrus a lot of nonspecific esters.

Taste: malt forward, dark fruits (prune, plum, raisin), hint of hop and nice clean finish

Mouth: medium body nice carbonation to provide some astringency and prevent from becoming syrupy.

Overall: Very good for the style, I’d recommend, though in the future would choose the tripel over the classic.

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

Pours a deep brown with a finger and a half of off white head that breaks leaving some nice lacing behind. The smell is dark fruits, molasses and brown sugar. The taste is sweet with the dark fruits dominating. Brown sugars and a touch of alcohol are also present. The feel is smooth, but this is a heavyish beer. Carbonation is moderate.

A very nice BSDA, I had this one with a couple of years on it and it just seemed to go down smooth and easy.

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Photo of delta490
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

An excellent Belgian Strong Ale. It pours a dark ruby color, with a\ nice creamy head and some lacing. As the brewery notes mention, it is a maltier beer, with a hint of spice and fruit. The 8.5% ABV is hidden very well and not particularly noticeable in the taste, only your head.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Pours two fingers of light tan head on a dark brown colored body.
The aroma is caramel, spices and brown sugar.
The taste is mild sweetness at first, more brown sugar sweetness middle to end, some figs to finish.
The texture is soft but thicker with low carbonation.
Quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Liquor Shed in Casper, $10.99 for the 2013 750ml bottle.

A nice pop when I pulled the cork but no gushing, thankfully, it pours a clear? deep mahogany with a 2 finger hof and of course, nice lacing.

Lots of caramel malt, mixed with some toffee and fruity notes in the smell. Pitted fruits, me thinks. No, I'm thinking of a Bartlett. Anywho, it's a very nice aroma going on.

I do appreciate the pear flavour I'm getting straight off. Toffee follows and something semi sweet..I'll read the label...molasses? Okay. Nothing realy on the bitter side going on but this is not an overly sweet brew either.

Sipping further in, I get a mild heat from the alcohol but it's not a huge distraction.

Close to if not full bodied, medium carbonation, makes for a great mouthfeel, eh?

This is classically delicious and a real joy to sip on. Well worth the price I paid for it.

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Photo of henkmudi
4.49/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Smell of fresh barley, hay, honeycomb wax. Copper, red, dark orange, foam dense and persistent. First taste tobacco, chocolate, coffee, malt. Resembles top quality rose wines and finest single malt whiskeys. Only minus is to much sweet and caramel. Strong, tasty looking for heavy food, or it can serve as glass before sleep.

 325 characters

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

330 ml bottle poured into a chalice.

A- Deep hazed brown body. Creamy light tan head. Nice rings of lacing and very leggy.

S- Molasses, caramel, some sweet bread. Super malty aroma.

T- Sweet but not as overbearing as the aroma suggested. Malt and molasses. Slight fruit character comes out.

M- Creamy, full body. Very subtle, fine carbonation. And a clean wet finish.

O- Yum. The malty notes in this are fantastic. Molasses caramel, and the depth of this beer is great. Temp change brings more intense flavors out. Very nice.

 531 characters

Photo of FLima
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Brown reddish color with a thick two finger beige head with good retention and leaving lots of laces.
Nice aroma with notes of raisins, spices, candied sugar, licorice, prunes, apple puree and grapes.
Delicious flavor with spiced notes, candied sugar, plums, figs, cocoa, red wine and vanilla. Quite dry aftertaste with a mild bitterness.
Velvet full body with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol of 8.5% abv is very well hidden.
Excellent beer combining rich spices and fruits notes. Sweetness that does not bother. Very easy to drink, I remember to taste it while I was adventuring in the world of craft beer, and still tastes great.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown body with one finger head that never really goes away thanks to a lace ring. Aroma has dark fruits everywhere with figs, raisins, black cherries, and there is also a sugary sweetness in the aroma like toffee or candi sugar. Very smooth, creamy, sweetness from caramel, toffee, candi sugar, the smoothness is from a good yeast presence, creaminess from great balance with dark fruit flavors like black cherry and raisins (not going to say plums) and finishes oh so easy. Maybe too sweet for some but hit the spot for me.

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Photo of barczar
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Believe it's a 2011.

Pours a hazy deep brown with a fleeting tan head that dissipates to nothing.

Maple, treacle, pears, raisins, dates, and figs form the initial aroma. Very complex and rich. There's a bit of a bell pepper note.

Flavor reveals deep molasses and slightly smoky, toasted malt, accompanied by raisins, dates, and a hint of vinous character. Dark fruit reigns.

Body is full, with moderate carbonation that lifts the heavy alcohol and prevents the flavor from becoming cloying.

Great Belgian yeast esters, with enough malt sweetness and vinous character to balance. A real treat.

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Photo of Takahiro
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: dark brown, with tan head, the head thins out rather quickly, but lingers afloat for a quite long time. leaves a belgian lace
S: prune, dark fruit, caramel, toffee
T: prune, little bit of rust, caramel, and alcohol warmth/sweetness
M: some sweetness from alcohol sticks a bit, but overall dry finish
O: good desert beer, but a bit sweet for the moment, where i just took a nice hot bath.

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Photo of schavuytje
3.3/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper tan body color with a thin white head with a gentle scent of orange and spices, delicate tones of sinaadappel taste complemented by spice tones then show slightly sour and sweet corn, not complicated or outspoken but decent

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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.

 1,480 characters

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

From: Beertopia, Omaha, NE
Date: "Lot number L 16/05/12 10:13"
Glass: Tulip

Somewhat like a "light" version of their classic Noel winter ale, Gouden Carolus' Classic is a fairly strong Belgian amber ale with good expression of aromas and flavors. I have fond memories of this being widely available in Brussels' grocery stores, and of enjoying it often with a late day snack or dinner. One I wish was more commonly available in the US, and that I would pick up again.

Pours a substantial 2cm tall head of small to medium-sized, beige-colored bubbles, yielding a somewhat frothy appearance. Retention is excellent, the foam lasting several minutes in a slow decline to a thick ring around the perimeter of the glass and a small island of thin film atop the body of the beer. Lacing is very good, with thin, hieroglyphic patterns clinging to all sides of the glass. Body is a very dark brown, nearly black color, with light bringing out very dark brown and dark golden orange hues. Highly numerous and vigorous carbonation visible along the sides of the glass, but not through, the body being opaque.

Aroma is pleasant and assertive, of medium-dark caramel-like sweetness from sugar syrup, with attendant scents of anise, prunes, and slight spicy phenols and bread-like character.

Overall flavors are of medium-dark sugar syrup, prunes, anise, and slightly spicy phenols; ethanol is there, but more of a background flavor than anything else. Front of palate tastes medium-dark caramel-like sweetness, slightly sharp clove-like phenols, prunes and raisins, and anise. Mid-palate of medium-dark caramel-like sweetness from sugar syrup, slightly sharp clove-like phenols, anise, prunes and raisins, and a touch of ethanol. Back of palate experiences slightly sharp clove-like phenols, strong prunes and raisins, anise, the sweetness from dark candy syrup in the background along with ethanol. Aftertaste is of pleasant, slightly sharp clove-like phenols with light anise, and a bit of roasted malt and medium-dark caramel-like sweetness from sugar syrup in the background.

Beer is medium-bodied, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, leading to a slightly foamy (1/4) and otherwise smooth (3/4) mouthfeel that is just right for the beer and within stylistic guidelines. Ethanol slightly perceptible as a slight warmth on the palate, but no other indicators. Closes dry, with heavy stickiness clinging to the palate.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Murky brown with a slightly off-white ring of head.

S: Molasses, plum, fig, raisin, and a general dark fruit aroma in the nose. Also a bit boozy.

T: A touch roasty, vanilla, some dark fruit flavors, molasses.

M: Full bodied, but it could be smoother. Not too harsh.

O: This is a really good beer.I wouldn't say it's nearly as good as the Blauw, but I would recommend it.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque brown with a big tan head that pours at three or so inches but clumpily settles to a healthy film. Good retention; minimal lacing.

Pretty alcoholic with leather, cloves, licorice, and overripe dark fruits.

Sweet and fruity. Cherries, cocoa powder, strong black tea, red wine. Delicious.

Thinner than one would think with a medium body and prickly carbonation. The flavor coats your mouth but is fairly unobtrusive.

Good solid beer.
This is a fine strong dark ale and is fairly interesting while remaining kind of unassuming.
It is not the best looking of their beers that I have had, but it is fine-smelling and delicious. Judging by the smell of it, I was expecting a roasty, boozy beer but sipping it I was greeted by a fresh-tasting, mellow, sweet beer. Very tasty.
Would have again; a nice approachable example of a strong dark Belgian.

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Photo of BucBasil
4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the 330mL bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A: The beer pours a col like color of dark brown with some light shining through. Head is very light tan or very off white, 1.5 fingers thick and foamy and sticks around just a little while before settling down to a thin layer above the beer.

S: Very yeasty and classic Belgian, with hints of dark fruit and spice mingled with some dark malts that are caramel or dark bready in character. Very nice.

T: Spicy with lots of dark fruits such as plums and raisins and some spices. Some candy sugar in there, but more malt sweetness from sweetened bread or light caramel. Nice.

F: Smooth.

Overall: This is a nice example of a strong dark Belgian ale. Not too intimidating for newcomers but also not shy on the flavor. This is a really good beer.

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

Appearance 3.75: Pours out a dark, translucent chestnut brown. Little head...never got above maybe a 1/4" (and that's generous) during the initial pour. Almost no lacing.

Smell 3.75: Good nose on this beer. I smell a lot of roasted grains and some malt, along with a deep and pleasing mustiness.

Taste 4.0: Front is slightly sweet with a very pleasant smoothness on the palate. Middle is where the big flavors hit: malt, toasted grains and a balance of noble hops. Finish is silky smooth with dark, delicious tastes of dried dark fruit and a very subtle smokiness. Aftertaste is of medium length and subtle flavors like light grains and chlorophyll appear on the palate. This beer reminds me so much of another excellent beer: Lion Stout. Maybe the same "top fermenting" yeast????

Mouthfeel 4.0: Unlike so many Belgians, this beer is very lightly carbonated. To me, this uniqueness adds to the flavor of this beer and serves to emphasize its silky smooth taste and mouthfeel.

Overall 4.0: While off a bit in certain areas, this beer is -nonetheless-- outstanding. Excellent tasting and a unique type of Belgian style, what with its low level of bubbles. Highly enjoyable, fully sessionable and I can certainly see why this has been brewed continuously since 1471.

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Photo of DPJ3322
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured it from a 750 ml bottle that had been aging a while in my fridge. I poured into a Three Philosophers tasting glass, ideal for Belgians I think.

Appearance - Made a one finger head, light brown carbonation and rich, dark mahgogany color. It is very dark and not clear at all. Nice

Smell - I get a lot of rich fruity smells and some Belgian yeast.

Taste - A very winey taste paired with well dark, fruity flavors. I've tried Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue) by Brouwerij Het Anker and it was far more robust on the winey side. This is somewhat more balanced and subdued.

Mouthfeel - Not too heavy on the carbonation, medium in mouthfeel, once again, nice. It is a bit viscous and heavy on the mouthfeel aftertaste texture.

Overall - This is a bit light side for the style and I like it.

 801 characters

Photo of jdhilt
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two finger khaki head that fades quickly leaving a no lace. Dark opaque brown color, ton of yeast left in bottle. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Dark fruit nose and flavor is dark fruit and spice. Better flavor as it warms. Higher ABV is hidden. 330ml bottle part of 4-pak $18.99 Julio's Liquors Marlboro, MA.

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Photo of tone77
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a brown 25.4 oz. bottle. Has a cloudy dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is bursting with dark fruits, some yeast present, mouth is watering. Taste is very complex, some sweetness, spice, lots of fruits, mild alcohol, excellent and delicious. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a top notch beer worth seeking out.

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
4.11 out of 5 based on 875 ratings.
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