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: 411 | Ratings: 875
Photo of jmatthew
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque reddish-brown in the glass with orange highlights and a fluffy tan head that leaves rings with each sip as it vanishes. Smells of dark fruits and butter cookies. The taste has an incredible complexity to it, which somehow blends many disparate flavors together in a manner in which you can't discern where one ends and the other begins. The richness of toffee and butterscotch merge with a biscuit yeastiness, the sweet fruit flavors of plums, dried apricots and raisins, a peppery spiciness and a rum-like warmth. Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Quite delicious and easy to drink given it's strength and complexity.

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Photo of vancurly
4.62/5  rDev +12.4%
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 scooter231
2.56/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a deep brown, ruby color with very little head. Smell is raisiny and chocolate sweet- too sweet for me. Taste is also too sweet- reminds me a lot of raison de etre. Mouthfeel is flat. Just flat. Eh. I'm a fan of the dark Belgians but something about this one just didn't fly with me. I feel like I have a cavity now.

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

This beer pours a hazy reddish-brown color. Its head is tall and an off-white color, producing ample and intricate lace. The aroma is good: spicy and peppery, with a lot of raisin and malt. There’s notable alcohol smells that rise out of the glass as well. The taste is malty and sweet, with a very serious warming sensation. The brew is very effervescent, almost fizzy. The combination of the alcohol and carbonation give the beer a hot sensation. There’s lots of peppery, spicy flavors in the taste, becoming more prominent into the finish. Also, the malt is notable throughout the experience, along with a toffee-like caramel sensation that’s more evident in the foretaste. Full bodied and very satisfying. This is a very good beer.

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The label says Gouden Carolus - Carolus D'or but labels it as 8.5% Classic so I am assuming this is the "classic" version. Attractive labeling with some history of the brewery on the side.

Pours a dark, ruddy brown color with a ruby hue and a gorgeous 2-fingered frothy head leaving behind mass amounts of lacing. The aroma is of bananas, dark fruits like plums, dates, some brown sugar, maple syrup, yeast, caramel, tropical fruitiness, cherries, just extremely complex. So many subtleties all mixed in together. Then the taste gets even more complex. Tastes of banana esters of yeast, plums, raisins, toffee, clove, vanilla, candies, extremely ripe dark fruits...it has it all. Just amazing. With an alcohol% of 8.5, you would NEVER guess. The ABV is extremely well disguised. Mouthfeel is airy and slippery on the tongue. Medium-Heavy bodied with moderate carbonation, not too much. This is one of THE best Belgian Strong Dark Ales I have ever had. Every sip brings about new delicious flavors and nuances. I am amazed at how well crafted this brew is. A+

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

Poured a deeep reddish-brown color with massive slightly off-white puffy head. Smell is rich and dark fruity with strong notes of plums and dates. Taste is an enjoyable mixture of plums, figs, molasses, and cherries. Finished with a light sweetness. Very b=drinkable for the alcohol content. An exceptional beer.

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

Not sure what's going on with this bottle. It has Gouden Carolus Carolus D'Or on it, but it hasn't been added yet, so I'll just assume this is the classic since I imagine someone would've added what I have already.

Poured into a wine glass.

Appearance: Nice dark amber color with lots of tiny bubbles floating to the top. Head is an off-white that stays mightily clinging to the sides. And the lacing's balanced between the caked on remnants of the dried and the clumpy wetness of the new with each pour.

Smell: Wonderfully complex with ma ny dark fruit and tropical fruits such as cherry, apple, and plum. Also there's a sweet sugar cookie aroma with some vanilla and maple that's also very nice. Possibly the slightest hop bitterness in the nose too. Amazingly balanced to boot.

Taste: Also wonderfully rich and and balanced. Sour cherries and apple skin dominate at first, with a slight lingering hop bitterness at the finish, and the sour and sweet fruit flavors mixing extremely well with that. There's so much more too, with the hints of vanilla, cookies, and breadiness coming through also. Fantastic stuff.

Mouthfeel: Big, rich, malty, silky, and coating all in one. A spread out burst of rich carbonation tingles the palate near the end of the swallow.

Drinkability: I forgot I had this bottle in the cellar, found it, and decided to crack it open. I love the GC tripel and this is no different. One of the better BSDAs I've had the pleasure to try. I'll be buying more and cellaring them if I can indeed find them.

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

That's a really complex beer. The appearance is great, reddish-dark color, great head, etc. The smell is complex, flowery, fruity, reminding some fruits like plums, raisins, etc. The taste follows the smell, and it's balanced, really nice. It runs nicely over the palate, opening more flavors... i could drink some really easily...

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Photo of HardTarget
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: The 330ml brown bottle with gold foil notes 8% abv and some history.

Aroma: Heavy dark fruit, mostly grape and Belgian yeast strain. Some deep caramel and a perfumed alcohol note.

Appearance: Deep brown glass shows mild clarity at the edges. Never really formed a head but holds a very thin collar that doesn’t last. No lace but the glass glows ruby when tilted for a sip.

Flavor: Brandied plum, rum soaked bananas, almost a candied yam flavor. I get a bit of brown sugar as it warms; Very rich flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, moderate to low carbonation, thin texture and very dry finish.

Overall Impression: Only flaw I can note is the lack of a head, but given the firm abv, that’s understandable. A very nice beer, a great sipper.

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Photo of
3.67/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opened a 12oz bottle. Poured a light brown with slight copper color, some haze. Head was moderate with a tan color. Aroma was primarily malt/yeast, with some caramel and fruit. Flavor expanded on the aroma, bringing in apple and bubblegum tastes. The mouthfeel was creamy, with a nice warmth from the alcohol. Overall, an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of MeLikeBeer
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled courtesy of Bierschenker.

Poured a dark coffee/nut brown into the glass with a light sticky head.
This brew actually *smells* strong! Whew! Syrup/Molasses scent, slight sweetness, like cherries...
BIG taste- in your face taste. Maltiness with sticky sweet toffee flavor, it hovers on your tongue before journeying onward. A little spicy like pepper and cinnamon. And a bite! The aftertaste/lingering effects of this one are fantastic...sweet sugars linger and there warming 8% of this one are definitely felt. Nice.

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Photo of jamie2dope
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The whole reason I decided to get a bottle of this beer was sheerly for the really cool looking label. Little did I know that what lay inside was so special. Poured a dark brown, ruby color with a small white head which clung to the sides of the glass from start to finish. Aroma was very impressive, with a bouquet of raisins, plum, honey, molasses and even more dark fruit as it began to warm up. Taste was equally as satisfying with flavors of molasses, more dark fruit, spicy clove, even some mild cookie like tastes going on as well. Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy, but not too much of either, seemed just right as far as being balanced. It is a strong beer that gives the body a nice warming sensation, but serves to mask the alcohol quite effectively. This is a really super beer worth drinking. It fulfills everything I look for in a quality Belgian Strong Dark. Cheers

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

This beer was delicious. I had this sandwiched between a Rochefort - Ommegang vertical tasting. Pours dark, with a very smooth, almost creamy appearance. Nice head. A strong aroma is present, very fruity, with typical Belgian plum and banana scents along with some caramel. Mouthfeel is full, velvety, dessert-like, and not overly carbonated. The taste is full of complex flavors; tart fruit and sweet candy sugar, roasted maltiness, vanilla, all balanced well. The two-year old bottle that we followed with retained all of the intricate characteristics of the unaged beer, but attained an even greater balance and smoothness.

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