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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 404 | Ratings: 853
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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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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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
4.11 out of 5 based on 853 ratings.
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