Gouden Carolus Classic | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium | website

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: 398 | Ratings: 835
Photo of ElGordo
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 330ml bottle into my Duvel tulip glass. Body is a cloudy deep brown with tan highlights, topped by an inch or so of creamy, khaki-colored head that settles rather quickly. Sweet aroma of dark fruit (plums, golden raisins), toffee, and a touch of maple, along with some yeasty funk. Palate is again mostly dark fruit, with notes of raisins, dates, and maybe dried apricots. A deep, almost burnt caramel flavor comes from the malt, with along with an earthy edginess from the yeast. Finish is relatively light for such a strong beer, but there is also a nice warming sensation from the alcohol. Body is well-carbonated, yielding a nice creamy texture. A slow-drinking, warming sipper is good on a cool spring evening.

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Photo of haz77
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear dark brown with a fizzy head which quickly dissipates. Doesn't look to have much carbonation.

S - Plums, dates, mild solvent smell, spice, dark sugar.

T - Sweet malts and dark ripe fruit at first. Some chocolate in the background. Mild bitterness follows to a tingling dry finish. Nice alcohol warmth follows in the aftertaste.

M - Cleaner than I would have expected, but remains smooth. The carbonation works well.

D - Very nice indeed. Walks up to the line of being overly sweet without crossing it. Recommended.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer has a very stylish label with a golden king on a golden horse and the words Gouden Carolus Classic, it looks expensive.
It pours a mahogony red colour and a lot of carbonation, especially for a dubbel-style beer. The head collapses very fast into large bubbles.
The smell was wonderfull, very full and complex with cumin and clovy notes, very spicy.
Taste was big, lots of carbonation and some burned notes. I could taste some caramel. The beer is certainly very warming alsmost like wine. Some raisin and dark fruit float by.
After my initial enthousiasm, I feel this beer is a little out of balance, I feel the beer has a lot of sugar in it, which make it a little empty. On the other hand it is pretty sticky and hops are almost absent. Nevertheless, complexity and spiciness make this a very good beer.

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Photo of Atlas1
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not that the Gouden Carolus is a new beer or anything, but everytime I drink this beer, whether in bottle or on tap, I'm convinced that I've discovered something new and rare. It never ceases to amaze me. Crisp and refreshing - almost citrusy at times, but malty and smooth, with such a pleasant aftertaste. Aroma is sweet and spicy and delicious. My wife, who has developed quite a taste for Belgian ales over the last few years, declares this her favorite of all, and at times I find it hard to disagree with her. But then again, there are so many fine Belgians out there. Praise for the Gouden Carolus.

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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 goodbyesoberday
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep red-amber colour, crystal clear and with a thick pale tan head that stays very well for a strong beer lacing all down the glass.

Aroma of golden syrup and toffee, somewhat herbaceous but my nose is slightly stuffy at the moment.

The taste is full of toffee and raisins and sweet malt. Perhaps a little cherrylike and definitely some spicy plum pudding.

Overall it's a very drinkable beer. There is no heat or other sign it's an 8% ABV brew. Very pleased with this one.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.77/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours into the brewery’s glass a dirty, nontransparent red oak color. Froth is thin and short lived. Aroma is peppery with a surprising amount of sour lemon peel, cloves, and banana. Taste is fermented dark fruit such as cherries, plums, and also some melon. Pepper is evident as well. Mouth feel is medium bodied, light and tingly on the lips and tongue although it becomes chewy as it warms. Drinkability suffers slightly from fruitiness. There is simply so much big fruit. It’s overwhelming. ABV is covered fairly well but some shows through. Very good but not outstanding.

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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 paterlodie
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BB 08-07-06 and quiet some time in my cellar. Poors in with fine and lasting beige head and a dark brown but clear beer and rubin red shine when holding into the light. Nose is very malty, burnt coffee and caramals dominate but there is a nice yeastfruit in the back. Overall very fresh and malty. Taste is full, sweet, burnt with light bitterness in the aftertaste. Enjoyable but bit sticky not realy disturbing though and well drinkable beer.

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

A: Almost opaque body with snowy white head. Pour yields a big glorious head but it doesnt last, does leave nice spider webs all down the glass though.

S: green apple, butter, brown sugar

T: smooth with a very balanced sweet malt. Body is a little thin but a rich creaminess follows it up to help fill out the mouthfeel. Alcohol is evident but not a problem. Finishes creamy with loads of green apple (must be a house yeast by product because its extremely obvious in their portfolio), some pear, chocolate. sugar lingers on the finish.

M: Very easy drinking, good weight, medium bodied but coats the mouth well.

very nice brew. not overly serious or complex like some of thier other styles but delicious and highly drinkable. Kick ass beer.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at New Beer Distributors on Chrystie Street.
Looks like a strong dark ale should; deep dark brown with ruby tinges.
The smell starts off as a bit weak for the style then kicks in after awhile. Scents are the expected medley of dark fruits... raisins and prunes mostly... some dried cherries... maybe some grape, plum and cherry... but mostly the dried surgarized varieties of these.
The taste is heavy on the raisins, with a solid helping of prunes. Pretty smooth drinking on the whole but the sweetness is a bit too strong to make this very drinkable.
This is pretty good but the Grand Cru version was far more impressive.

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

Poured into a Duvel glass, dark brown turning toffee orange around the edges, a creamy froth of a head with beautiful lacings down the glass. Nice, but not spectacular. Sweet, sugary molasses and/or raisens with slight phenolic aroma underlying. Very sweet, rich, and malty presense, and has this earthy herbal underlayer that balances this beer out very well. I get caramel, a hint of chocolate and a kind of sweet clove. Body is decent, rich and smooth, but nothing too special. Really this is just a great beer, another Belgian that I love.

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Photo of whynot44
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark mahogany color with a foamy milk chocolate head that retains well and leaves generous sheets of lace.

The aroma is sweet fruity - raisins, plums, cherries, more - with a bit of brown sugar.

The taste is rich, sweet dark malt, lots of fruit and berries - currants, cherries, plums, blackberries, raisins - along with hints of chocolate. Finishes just slightly tart.

Great feel in the mouth and way too easy to drink.

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

33cl thin brown bottle, black label with gold writing. Best before stamp on label. 8.5%. Enjoyed as a night cap in an oversized wine glass. Deep dark brown color (almost purple), with a thick, tan, foamy head of fairly large bubbles. Recedes to a thin ring, but does leave nice lacing. This has a strong fruity smell of plums and prunes, almost red wine-like. The taste is very rich and slightly sweet. Full flavored with dark fruit like plum, raisins, and berries. Reminds me of a port, sweet like molasses.
The mouthfeel is very full bodied, high alcohol warms you all the way through. A beer to be savored and enjoyed for a long time. Thumbs up. Neck and neck with St. Bernadus 12.

Also enjoyed the draft version, most recently at Craft in Edmonton. Rich, sweet, smooth.
Always seems to taste better when served in the proper glass wear.

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Photo of ybnorml
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A dark brown beer with deep mahogony highlights. Has a big creamy off white head and good lace. The aroma is like a basket of goodies Vanilla, chocolate and dried fruits. The taste starts with chocolate then vanilla. The finish is dried fig with a sparkle of alcohol as it goes down.
Note my bottle claimed 8.5% Vol on the neck ring.

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Photo of cubedbee
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I believe this is the beer I'm drinking--the style and ABV match--but the 11.2 oz bottle reads Gouden Carolus Caralus D'Or instead of Classic. Pours a dark burgundy brown with a finger of dense beige head and some really good retention. Aroma is very strong plum, slightly vinous, brown sugar, mint, and just a hint of alcohol. Taste is nice and fruity, plum, currant, slight melon--all with a nice candi-sugar background, not too sweet, some peppery spices kicking in towards the end. Mouthfeel is medium and creamy, maybe slightly undercarbonated. Alcohol stays hidden throughout. This is a great tasting sipping beer,

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Photo of tesguino
2.32/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

In general a deepy brown color, strong beer for the most mexican beers, i try this in a 12 oz bottle, my wife gift me this beer and the christmas carolus in december 2004, and this beer it disappointed to me; its color may be is for its malt, i can compared wit st sebastiaan dark in its flavor, try with mexican food, and german cuisine, drink direct from the bottle or in a goblet; 70% recommended.

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Photo of Finite
4.59/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What A beautiful brew.

Pours a very dark red/brown with mid range head which is a mild tan colour. Pretty good retention and a small amount of lacing on the glass.

This brew smells of rich dark fruits, consisting of ripe cherries, prunes and other sweet figs.

The taste is exceptional. Rich and sweet with a palate of quality sweet malts and floral hops. Which leaves a dry and slightly bitter aftertaste, teasting you to quench your thirst by having another sip with a taste almost like the skin of the fruits you just witnessed. All of this is backed up by warming alcohol content which lingers in you’re mount and stomach with a devilishly potent grin.

The mouthfeel is close to perfect with a playful carbonized bite which quickly smoothes out, beckoning you to swallow and taste the fruits.

This is one of the best brews I’ve had in this style and I will drink this as long as it’s available. Beautiful!

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

Dark purple color with an off-white colored head that has good retention and leaves behind some lacing. Aromas of figs, plums, and dates are detectable. The taste mirrors the aromas with an additional malt finish that contains just a touch of bitterness. This bitterness grows in the back on my throat and is not unpleasant. Good drinkability.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle 2004: Dark plummy brown with a big tan topping of delicate foam. Fades to a big collar and whispy skimming on top and the lacing is drippy with a textured webbing lightly leaving spots and strings as it dwindles.

Murky, dark aroma of plummy stuff and lightly vinous qualities with a nice notion of mint-like yeasty spice, some molasses and cooking sugars, and purple grape juice.

Taste is quite nice here; clean, unwavering, very well rounded with dark candied sugar flavors as plum, currant, and raisin mix in with a lightly chewy fruit cake backing drizzled with caramel and light spices. Slivers of orange creep around the back end as it warms slightly with a tiny backwash of black licorice and some residual brown sugar pinches. Nice!

Feel is perfect. Super clean with a lightly bready, chewy center that holds a very solid medium heft and great length in sugary dark candied fruits. Nice gradual build up to the warming kick in the finish that reminds you you're drinking a Belgian beer. Wonderfully slick, quick, and tasty.

I would if I could, drink a bunch of this stuff, but the 8% does hit a bit later with a bit of warmth. Oh so nice a drinker though. Gone in no time. A solid Belgian brew. Me likey.

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Photo of battlekow
3.86/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A thick maroon color, the Gouden Carolus Classic has a head made up of fine beige bubbles that provide excellent lacing. Smells sweetly of fruit and alcohol, plus some spiciness from the alcohol and some anise. Taste has a sweet/sour fruitiness going on with strong alcohol notes. Mouthfeel is thinner than I expected. Good sipper, quite drinkable.

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

Hidden away on a shelf in Moscow's largest grocery store, this lone bottle called out to me. Of course I adopted it. Pale brown in huge, long and gently curved in form, this petite bottle is clothed in a black and gold label featuring a king riding a bucking horse. The original label provides no ingredient information, while the Russian import label lists only purity law content. Best before 1/26/07, I opened it on 10/21/05.

Pours a cloudy dark brown under a one finger beige head that settles at a respectable pace to film and collar, then lasts forever. There are a few spots of lace, but could be much more. The nose is strong and tart, with plum sweetness and cinnamon spiciness. The mouth is well carbonated and quite heavy, sticking like syrup to all areas of the mouth. Nice blend of flavors here, with plum and raspberry sweet, lemon tart and some sort of spice that leads to a beat of bitterness, but never quite gets there. The fruit and spice remain past the finish and into the aftertaste, leaving a refreshed palate looking for me. A complex beer, for sure, and very enjoyable.

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Photo of wl0307
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Brought this bottle back straight from the Het Anker's cafe, a superb cafe itself providing good service, beer-cuisine and of course, freshest house beers on tap. It was so cheap there for take-away (1 Euro each) I couldn't resist taking away a "six-pack" mixed of Classic and Tripel. BB date: 16/12/06.

A: served in a goblet, it pours a hazy, deeply brownish hue with some red hint; the effervescent dark-beige head comes very tight and frothy, lasting quite well. Looking good.
S: initially a basic combination of preserved-figs, sweet plums and slightly tartly-sweet ripe black-berries, brown sugar, caramel-malts; after a swirl, a fruit-estery perfumy aroma and an overwhelming butterscotch note cut through, along with a very settled, vinous hint of fortified wine, like sweet-madeira, sustaining in the background, but without the overly alcoholic touch. Overall, a complex nose with a soft touch.
T&M: upfront on the palate shows a smooth flow of sweet black-plum juice with a savoury touch, restrained roasted malts, a mild flavour of semi-sweet dark chocolates, light caramelised sugar and an herbal edge of licorice, with a kilned tea-leafy and spicy bitterness lagging behind... overall the texture is so soft, settled and mouthfeel so smooth, only when it turns a bit warmer down the throat and picks up some nuanced hoppyness does it really remind me that it's a glass of beer I'm sipping. The aftertaste is a bit candy-sugary, but not the kind making a sticky palate. Without a clear and ever-changing structure, the body shows a compact mini-universe from the first second onwards--very mellow, very silky-smooth, so very enjoyable for a beer at 8.5%abv.
D: not as complex/tasty/robust as other more grandeur strong dark ales, this is still a gem which the Mechelen-ese are so rightly proud of (I met several during my trip and all didn't hesitate to brag about this classic brew). But interestingly, even I had several bottles of this at various cafes in central Mechelen and Leuven, only when tasting it at the Het Anker Cafe and, surprisingly, at home, could I truly appreciate the slightly understated flavour and complexities which shied away in a more noisy place with semi-cold serving temp. I suppose, at least for me, it should be sipped quietly and at a slightly higher temp. like 12 or 13 degree Celsius, when this beer is at its most delicious~~

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice a hazy deep amber to brown with a tan head that lasted well to lace the glass.

The aroma was dark fruits, namely raisins, dark caramel, and a slight candylike aroma. Also present was a slight molasses and some higher alcohols. Some muted spiciness of clove was present.

The flavor was well achieved with dark fruits, raisins and plums/prunes, and a creamy caramel maltiness. Muted in the background was some belgian yeast spiciness and cloves.

The finish was just dry with a lasting caramel, dark fruit and clove impression long into the aftertaste. The body was medium to medium full and creamy on the palate.

11.2 ounce bottle. The alcohol only makes it's presence known in the aroma and the slight alcohol warming sensation after the beer is consumed.

Reviewed on incorrect beer on 10-24-2004. The bottle said D'Or but was not Cuvée Van De Keizer as was previously entered.

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

Undated 11.2oz poured into a chalice.

Dark brown, almost black to amber edges. Thick head of an inch that is the color of pancake batter that leaves sheets of lace as it goes down. Great retention. Strong retention.

The nose has a lot of yeast. Bubblegum, cloves, and bananas. This is a fine example of belgian yeast aromas. A little dark fruit and a pinch of something citric. There's some cookie dough made with real vanilla and some floral hops thrown into the mix as well. Very nice.

The first aspect I noticed was how it flowed into my mouth, filled it up, then glided away effortlessly. Damn fine mouthfeel.

Malty upfront with raisins, and sugars, some of the above mentioned yeast aromas are now tasted, some herbal hops towards the end. The alcohol does register as warming pepper, but it works well with the sweet flavors. Very tasty. I could get very wasted, very fast if sessioning this one.

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
92 out of 100 based on 398 ratings.
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