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: 837
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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Photo of elricorico
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark reddish brown and had a large tan head. The head fell quite rapidly though, and left a thin half ring.

The smell is sweet, with candy sugar dominating. There is also raisin and prune and sweet cherry smell. The smell is a bit lighter than I had hoped for, but not by much.

The taste...paydirt! A beatiful mix of malt and candy sugar. Enters the mouth as a sweet dark cherry and runs through a few more of the dark ripe fruits. Candy sugar carries it through the mouth until the finish, which hints at semi-sweet chocolate and tart berry flavour. Very very nice.

Mouthfeel is smooth with medium body. For the amount of sweetness, the beer doesn't feel sticky, and goes down nicely. The alcohol is only faintly apparent in the beer's finish.

I like this one. It isn't the prettiest, and it doesn't put out the best aroma, but as far as drinking it goes, this is first class.

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

Another exceptional beer from Het Anker. Poured into a Chimay chalice, beer pours a murky caramel brown with a nice lasting head. Aroma is slightly sweet, fruity. Taste is rich, creamy, citrus fruits mixed with some dark fruits, caramel maltiness and toffee. Alcohol is almost unnoticeable. Full, malty mouthfeel. Very drinkable, you could have a few of these no problem (at least on the tastebuds).

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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 BeerNutta
3.72/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A = Dark dark brown. Almost black like the label.

S = sweet malts and dried fruits. ( Prunes, dates etc...)

T = Sweet malt followed by prunes then a slight bitter closer with an alcohol finish.

M = Less then moderate carbonation so you can distinquish the flavours. Low alcohol burn.

D = Not a session beer. The 8.5 finishes that off. Not cheap either.

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Photo of Albinoh
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color, with some head that eventualy vanishes. Sweet, malty smell, you can also sense the alcohol. Malty, sweet taste a little fruity, almost what you expect. Alcohol bites a little bit more than i would like, but its not bad. Medium body.

I preffer the tripel or the ambrio Gouden Carolus over this one, but a good beer after all. Maybe this one is a bit more standard, not intended to surprise.

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Photo of ADR
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small 330 ml bottle...hazy dark brown appearance with little in the way of noticeable highlights. Nice frothy tan head, lots of thick laces stick on the glass in sheets. Muted aromas, a sense of woodiness and musky leaves, perhaps lacking in a big statement. Medium body, nice active carbonation. Well-composed flavors, definitive yeasts, some almost strident notes of currant and berries subsiding in a nice transition to an overall pleasing maltiness. Still, lingers as light and not ponderous from beginning to end. Some senses of earthy tannins with a contrasting sense of accented brightness. A very pleasant and quaffable beer.

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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 Pepeton
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 330 ml bottle with a best before well into in 2008.
According to the labels the ABV is 8.5%, not 8% as the BA database states.

Pours a beautiful dark red brew, with a matching head and some lacing.

Smell is complex: Faint pine nuts come all the sudden at first, ripe fruits, (bananas maybe), spices and much more. Impressive.

Taste is also complex: Malts above all, of course; some grass-herbal flavors, yeasty and lots of sweetness.

Mouthfeel is dry, amazingly crisp with a grest bitterness as an aftertaste.

I'll buy this ale anytime, but reserve it for my mild Mexican winters.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Came in a 4-pack, same as the tripel, same 330 ml brown bottles. No translation quirks on the importer's label on the back of the bottles as with the tripel.

This is a very sexy appealing ale, a luminescent cherry oak body with bright garnet highlights, when held to direct light it almost gives this seemingly nutty opaque brown appearance a glow from within.

Wood chips, blackstrap molasses, and an earthy soil character strike me first on the nose, along with salted black licorice and husky dark nut shells, and the faintest impression of anise trying to claw its way to the surface of such a thick and musky profile. Then I get a whiff of rum-soaked cherries, perhaps just the molasses shape-shifting over time.

Nutty, woody, earthy, this is all what comes to mind upon the first sip, and yet none of them really pin it down. Peaty.... The flavour is very dry, a dry sherry character lasts throughout as well, with bright points of sweetness in the guise of white grapes, sweet cherries and dried figs. Bloody hell, this flavour is more complex than it seems, and difficult to follow and pin down, it tends to metamorph after each sip. Halfway down the glass a milder, sweeter presence appears, on a bed of dried fruit pulled along by the molasses, with a rich, rummy brown sugary finish. The aftertaste leaves my mouth sticky with the presence of fig newtons.

The mouthfeel starts out thickish and dry, but towards the end of the glass it become thin and vinuous, sticky sweet.

Very curious indeed, I'm not sure what I really think about this stuff at the end, except that it's an ale that gives you a lot to contemplate and explore and decipher. Definitely not a session beer, but more for those who like solving mysteries and pouring over clues that tend to shift and morph over time--like a Scooby-Doo mystery that DOESN'T end with the surly old neighbour dressed up as a monster or alien, who would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids. I am left with the traces of thick crumbly brown sugar-coated date bread in my mouth as I finish this glass and this review, if nothing else this is a very filling ale.

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

The classic comes in the same bottle as the Triple, the only difference is the colour of the label: black for the classic and golden for the triple. 330 ml bottle, best before of April 2008. A dark mollasses brown in the chalice glass, tinges of ruby and rosewood. A greatly appealing colour, topped by an ample bone-white head, fine and creamy, leaving sticky sheets of lace. I think my glass deadened the head a little somehow--the first time I poured this beer, into the exact same glass, I got a much larger and much more consistent foam. The colour of the beer is so rich and substantial-looking that it gives off a great variety of hues, some purple and some more ebony. I get a bitter woodiness in the aroma immediately; also wormwood. Oak, wood chips, raisins and brown sugar. I was expecting it to be different: there exist all the classic dark aromas of this style(like Trois Pistoles, etc) but this hard-to-describe aroma really sets it apart and makes it a little unique. The sweetness is nicely balanced, giving blackberries, dark candy and licorice. Sniffing above the glass gives the earthy-wood aromas, along with the spicy phenols. In closer I smell cloves and cinnamon; red grapes and red wine, merlot, tannic. The fruitiness is behind all these in the form of red apples, dried prunes, as well as some pear and nectarine. A subtle aroma, but one with great layers of complexity. I cannot get enough of it. The taste delivers on the aroma's promise. Again, like the Triple, this is very velvety and pillowy on the tongue. Tree bark and oak mix with the roasted sweet maltiness at first. In the middle is a little chocolately dustiness, similar to dark roasted coffee. The finish is fruit-filled and very coffee-like, or even similar to hot chocolate. Alcohol is only noticeable in the aftertaste. The finish is syrupy and quite sweet, but it still allows for some sourish grassy astringency to come through(possibly from the hops.) Lowly carbonated and easy to drink, though quite sweet. This really is fantastic, and anyone who tries this and Gouden Carolus Triple can consider themselves privileged. Paired nicely with havarti, though the beer's alcohol overpowered it a little. Het Anker Brewery is definitely one of my favourite discoveries of the year.

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Photo of TPSReports
3.38/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Dark rudy amber color with nice head -- reddish light brown.

Strong fruity nose with alcohol. A bit of malt here too.

Taste doesn't mask the potency here. Strong fruit, with large sweet flavor. The sweetness of this brew is a surprise.

Mouthfeel is very nice and creamy with appropriate carbonation.

For me, this beer is too sweet to drink regularly.

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

I hope that I am reviewing the right beer. My lable says Carolus D'or. This was the only Het Anker @ 8% so I believe it is.

Pours out a dark brownish-red color with a very small head that doesn't seem to last. The smell is very malty sweet with hints of raisins and candy sugar. I am expecting this beer to be very sweet.

The first thing I noticed is how big this beer is. The flavors really jump out at you. It kind of reminds me of Ommegang but with a bit more sweet malty sugars.

The malt hits you right away and stays througout. Complex. I pick up some alcohol notes towards the end. This fades and gives way to more sugary flavors. Overall a wonderful beer but not easily drinkable for me as it is very sweet.

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

Bottle. YEAH BABY!! Deep cloudy dark brown (poured in all the yeast) with good head and plenty of lace. Smells DIVINE, sweet dark smooth brown sugar, rum and raisins. Tastes even better, smooth, sweet then dry and crisp. Almost perfect palate with a slightly warm and dry alcoholic finish. God this stuff is good; Trios Pistols sans the slightly off bits. YUM!

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
4.11 out of 5 based on 837 ratings.
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