Gouden Carolus Classic | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic
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:
None provided.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 420 | Ratings: 912
Photo of falloutsnow
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

F: Smooth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of jaasen64
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

25cl bottle with "Gouden Carolus D'or" painted in yellow paint on the bottle. I was told by the person I received this from that it is from the '70s but based on the condition of the bottle I wouldn't be surprised if it was from the '90s instead (design was used in both eras). All in all this bottle should be at least 20 years old, maybe up to 40.

A- Cap is a challenge to take off, literally bent the cap opener that I've used on all other bottles. When it does come off there is pretty much no hiss and the beer pours fairly flat with just a few bubbles. Bottom of cap is almost completely black. Beer appears almost completely still in glass and is a translucent dark brown with a reddish, gold hue to it. Despite the flatness the beer looks beautiful.

S- The second the cap is partially opened I can get a glimpse of a nice rich smell that reassures me after the lack of hiss and carbonation. After being opened the aroma dies down but the original presence of molasses, figs, raisins, port, slight cherries, and slight cardboard from oxidation. The oxidation actually meshes nicely with the beer and overall the beer is fairly aromatic and very pleasant for its age.

T- Opens up with figs, molasses, hints of port, a tiny bit of caramel, and just a hint of cherries lingering in the background. Finishes with more figs, some more caramel, and some watery cardboard due to the oxidation. Overall I was surprised by how well this beer had held up. It was fairly flavorful, the oxidation was definitely present but that's too be expected at this age and it didn't really detract anything from the beer.

M- Medium bodied, very smooth, slightly watery on the finish, completely flat but I don't completely mind it.

O- The cap and bottle on this beer claim this beer could age for a lifetime, after opening e bottle up after at least 20 years after it had been bottled I can definitely say that is probably true. The beer definitely showed its age but still remained a tasty treat that I thourghly enjoyed trying and would definitely try again if I ever get the chance.

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Photo of SmashPants
4.87/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle: solid brown 330mL bottle, decent label to boot. Better than your average Belgian beer package - don't know what the name means, but I like it.

Appearance: pours a slightly hazy dark copper-brown with hints of ruby against the light. A great froth of a beige head bursts up and settles to a solid cap fairly quickly. Solid lacing too.

Aroma: a confident nose - pungent and sweet, quite complex to boot. Sour cherries, citric and heavy fruits, a touch of lemon peel and some spices - this aroma has it all. This has to be one of the best smelling beers I have come across to date - I just hope the flavours come through on the palate...

Taste:  ... and do they ever! Sweet up front with those fruits and some chocolate and heavy treacle. The sherry spice and cherry sourness hang about too. Lovely!

Aftertaste: most of the flavours linger through, but with some warming alcohol finally coming through. A marvellously well-rounded beer.

Mouth feel: a reasonably full-bodied beer with moderate carbonation to carry those flavours through magnificently. Slightly dry on the finish, suiting those sherry flavours.

Overall: an exceptional, exceptional beer. Full flavoured and super complex, with just the right amount of each flavour jockeying for favour. Hands-down one of the best beers I have ever had. The only thing holding me back is the AU$140+ per case price (2013), but even at this price I believe it is worth it. Just have to make it a special occasion. Damn peasant wages - I'd love to have this one regularly.

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Photo of spoony
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 330 ml bottle into a tulip.

A-A normal pour produces a two-finger tan head that drops steadily into a cap. The brew is dirty and murky, but not completely opaque, and chestnut-brown in color. I can spot a few bubbles working their way up the side of the glass.

S-The smell is an interesting mix of cola, brown sugar, and warming, solvent-scented alcohol. There is some dark fruit, mostly prunes, and a bit of cocoa, too.

T-The taste is a pleasingly sweet mixture of prunes, candy and brown sugar, and a bit of pepper and clove spice. The alcohol is warming and sweet, but not aggressive. The taste is sweet and a little rough around the edges with an earthy feel, but not kick-you-in-the-face rough.

M-The feel is typically Belgian with a medium to lighter body and a soft carbonation that rolls around for a bit on the palate.

O-This beer may never win any first-place prizes in the BSDA category, but it is drinkable and packs a decent punch of flavor. As noted above, it is a tad rough and vegetal, but I kind-of enjoy the rustic aspect. It would go great with some pate and cheese on a cool evening.

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

11.2 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a murky dark brown color. The head is a two finger mocha shade, settling down to one finger relatively quick. Nonetheless, general retention is good, as is the soft, creamy texture. Thin streaks of lacing are left on the glass.

S: There are plenty of plums on the aroma, as well plenty of milk chocolate. Caramel and brown sugar also abound in conjunction with a well balanced note of bready yeast, pears, and apples. Really, it's not far off from a great quad - or Keizer Blauw for that matter.

T: Opening flavors are very strong in brown sugar sweetness. It's caramely in a good way. Dark fruit flavors (plums, raisins, and the like) build up in the midtaste before the dry finish...that's also laden with dark fruits. While it's fairly sugary, it's balanced just enough so to become non-cloying. Complexity is only lacking next to the aforementioned Keizer Blauw: this still has very good depth, even within the style.

M: The back end is moderately dry. I like that, by the way - it helps quash some (if not all) of the sweetness. Not a hint of alcohol is felt or tasted on the palate, but there is a slight warming sensation down the esophagus.

O: Excellent. Not sure why I held onto this single for so long, because I'm really digging this. Very flavorful and sweet, yet approachable and balanced enough. Fantastic dessert beer, and I wish I had more than a single of this.

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

Here we have a strong dark ale to whet my appetite for Belgian beers, this time it's Gouden Carolus Classic - brewed using a recipe from the 60's. The label appeals to my inner-Viking with golden lettering that looks like an Anglicised Scandinavian font. It is actually an homage (or beermage) to Emperor Charles V, one of the most powerful of the Holy Roman Emperors, hence the "Carolus" which is Latin for "Charles".

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a St Feuillien chalice.

A: The body presents a murky dark chocolate with tan specks where the head would normally reside, however this is a high ABV beer which generally come headless.

S: Dark plums, raisins, chocolate and a jot of brandy all combine to give off a Christmas pudding aroma. There is a bubblegum ester thrown in there for good measure. The overall fragrance is undeniably sweet and very tempting.

T: The dark fruit and bubblegum ester, along with a heady dose of candi sugar are immediately noticeable, this Belgian doesn't waste time! There is a sticky date toffee middle going on followed by a clove note and a smooth slightly medicinal herb bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied, chewy and creamy carbonation.

D: A feast for the senses! This rich, luxurious and unabashedly sugar-coated brew is certainly an excellent choice for a sweet tooth. Lacking in complexity a little for this fact, however it does an excellent job hiding both the hops and the alcohol in there and is clearly a well-crafted beer. I personally enjoyed it so much that I was disappointed I hadn't bought another bottle when my glass ran dry. There is always tomorrow.

Food match: Dessert, and cheese, or both (cheesecake). Either or in the case of this brew, though perhaps leaning towards dessert due to the sweetness.

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Photo of silverking
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- A hazy deep ruby amber with a thin beige head. Head retention is good. There are sheets of lace left down teh sides of my glass with each sip.

S- Enticing aromas of candied plums and figs. Light notes of toffee and sweet breads. there is an alcohol kick on the back end.

T- Sweet malt, candied fruits. The finish is bready with substantial notes of alcohol.

M- full bodied, low carbonation, creamy, sticky.

O- This would be great on a cold winter night. I will be buying this again.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz Brown bottle with usual class from Het Anker with the label and bottle style. These bottlings Are down right beautiful. Poured into an authentic Gouden Carolus goblet.

A - darkest of ruby browns with a near plum colored hue. Light tan colored head sits fluffy on top and settles to a creamy ring of lace leaving good stick. A delicious looking liquid.

S - candied plums and loads of rich dark fruit. Sugary and sweet with hints of fine Belgian spice. Caramel malts really add to the aroma. Alcohol has a slight floral note but the abundance of dark fruit and sweetness set the tone of this here's true character.

T - wow. What a rich flavor. Almost similar to their Keizer Blauw. Lots of candied dark fruits with plum, dates, and raisin. Caramel and toffee malt provide the additional sweetness with small soft chocolate note. Once again an excellent Belgian yeast strain with a little spice hitting at just the right moments. Slight alcohol esters with some warmth in the finish

M - on the fuller side of medium with superb texture and a perfect thickness for the style. Really gets its point across with a slap of fruity sweetness in the mouth. Alcohol flavors really go hand in hand with the feel and give you some nice warmth in the finish. Enjoyable and something I could drink every day of the week.

O - I've had the classic many times over as I have with all the Gouden Carolus ales. Probably my favorite Belgian brewery and stuff like this is why. This has a lot of the same similarities of the Keizer Blauw but not quite as hefty as its brother's Abv. Still a Belgian dark racked with loads of excellent flavor and quite possibly the smoothest ale of its size in the Belgian craft world. This is MasterCrafted stuff and if there ever was such a thing as a Belgian Brown ale this would be the one. I'll continue to drink these on a regular basis. One of my favorites

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Photo of MadScientist
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A deep copper with a red hue and decent clarity. The head is a long lasting off-white foam that leaves a fine lacing on the glass.

S: Like caramel coated prunes soaked in alcohol with a medium-strong fruit aroma of dark dried fruit with a medium caramel malt sweetness. There is a medium-low floral alcohol aroma and a low spice aroma.

T: A fairly sweet and fruit beer with rich dark fruit flavor, mostly of prunes and plums with some raisins. There is a medium-strong malt sweetness with medium-low chocolate and some caramel character. The alcohol is a prominent feature of the flavor especially towards the end bring some additional sweetness. There is definitely a moderate Belgian character there with more of the pepper coming through and fruit getting lost under the dark fruit flavors. The finish is sweet and the aftertaste is a quick to finish fruity and caramel flavor.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with a strong level of carbonation. A substantial amount of warmth.

O: A very good beer with a strong fruit character, a fair amount of sweetness and some spice. A good example of the style.

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Photo of ckollias
4.63/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a Beligan Tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark ruby-amber hue with an off-white, 2-finger, frothy head that slowly dissipates leaving a great trail and solid persistent lace.

S: Sweet dark fruity aroma and malt aroma with a toffee background.

T: Similar to the smell there are some dark fruit notes with a smooth toffee and malt flavor that has a bitter ending. Alcohol is present in the end enough to give a slow burn aftertaste.

M: Thick body and medium carbonation.

O: Superb Strong Dark Belgium Brew – one of the best I’ve had.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
4.54/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.75

We are back from Seattle, and all I want is a shot of vodka! We drank SO much beer while we were in Seattle. That's OK… that's partly why we went. We started at Pike Brewing Company, then hit up Redhook, Black Raven Brewing Company, and actually reviewed three beers at Elysian Brewing. I thought Pike was my favorite in the area… but now I think Elysian might be my favorite. The management was nice, the bartender was nice, and the beers are incredible. Those three reviews are coming up next!

Today we are back in Belgium for our final beer from Het Anker. At $5.99 a bottle, this better be good. Not sure I have every had a Belgian brown… well, a "Belgian strong dark ale". I have had several of those, but most reports are calling this a brown. I can guarantee you this doesn't taste like an American brown. Think Moose Drool. Excited to review this beer. Let's drink!

In the Glass: I could smell this as I was pouring it, and was getting some pretty intense sweetness. But we will get to that. It looks like a typical brown beer, a brown ale in the glass. It has a nice tan head with some obvious lacing as the beer settles. I already know I am going to want this beer to be bigger than 11.2 ounces. I LOVE a good Belgian dark strong.

Oh, and the bottle says, "BELGIAN BROWN ALE". Are the two connected?

Nose: I could smell this beer as I was pouring it… and it smells much better in the glass. Imagine a thick raisin/fig syrup being poured over your pancakes. That is what I am getting here. Lots of nice sweet notes and I can somewhat smell the alcohol burn that I am sure is present on the palate.

Flavor: Oh. My. God. I could drink a gallon of this. That is amazing!!! It is as sweet as I wanted, and I don't really get that ABV burn that I was expecting. I bet this would age/mellow out nicely. I still think the price point if a bit too high, but maybe that just means we need to travel to Belgium and drink this at the brewery. Sheryl better like this, because that is what beer is supposed to taste like. Holy crap, that's good.

On my second sip, I swished it around in my mouth a little bit. It becomes quite carbonated, but some really nice dried fruit flavors come out; this is where the raisin flavor comes in. Like I said, I wish this was a bigger bottle. My glass is almost empty and I just got started! Too bad I can't afford to buy this on the regular.

Mouthfeel: It is a little thinner than I would like. For a beer like this, I want it to seem like a meal in the glass. I want it to be heavy, thick, and almost creamy. Not a bad mouthfeel, but just not what I was expecting from a beer with this much flavor. I am going to try and let the rest sit there and warm up a little… wish me luck!

Aftertaste: Eat a piece of raisin bread… that somewhat dry fruity finish that you get from the raisins is what I am getting here. I doubt they do, but you could fool me if they use raisins in the brewing process. More dirty fig like flavors. I bet this would be a GREAT food beer, too. Man, this aftertaste is just hanging on there with every sip. Yummy!

We didn't try any Belgian beers in Seattle… well, the Monk's Uncle at Pike. That is one of my favorite beers they make. We did go back to drink a bottle of Old Bawdy, their barleywine and we noticed a barrel aged beer on tap called Entire. It was SO good. At $8 a glass, it better be. We did see a cool Belgian place called the Stumbling Monk, but their beer list wasn't that impressive and it was overpriced. I thin my favorite beer bar was the Uber Tavern. It was pretty much in the ghetto, but had an incredible beer selection.

Anyway, the Gouden Carolus Classic is a GREAT way to end our line of beers from Het Anker. Cheers!

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.81/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a fluted beer glass.

A fine, even complex BSDA, but not at the top of my list. I like cherry, but there is too much cherry in this beer’s aroma and a corresponding excessive fruity sweetness in the taste. This may be my least favorite of the Gouden Carolus beers.

A – Pours a cloudy opaque dark amber with a dense two-finger head. The head dissipated quicker than expected (-).

S – Yeasty, fruity, some spiciness, but no alcohol.

T – Cherry, moderate alcohol bite (which is OK, but alcohol is definitely not hidden), a rich malty sweetness, some faint spiciness.

MF – A bit minerally, moderately dry, moderate carbonation, a smooth start with a slightly warming finish.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

All the delicious dark sweetness of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. This one has dates, figs, brown sugar, and it's malty and a little fruity. Sweet but not cloying. A nice little booze in the finish. Smooth, soft mouthfeel, and exceptionally drinkable.

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Photo of CaptCleveland
3.43/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330cl bottle purchase for 2.42 Euro at G20 Supermarches in Paris (their "supermarket").
Best by date 1/17/16.
Sticker on the bottle boasts the "Worlds Best Dark" award at the World Beer Awards.

Clear, dark amber elixir poured into snifter. Thick, off-white head, settles to thin rim with plenty of lacing.

Huge biscuit malt predominates, caramel, subtle spice.

Malt bomb, some caramel, sugar, alcohol. Dark fruit at the end--prunes.

Medium body, highly carbonated.

Hits the mark for its style, but within that category is above average.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.61/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer pours a dark brown color with a one finger cream colored head that fades relatively quickly. Upon fading, over about a one minute time period, a lighter level of lace is left on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is a mix of a lightly roasted and bready malt as well as aromas of sweet sugary and darker fruit smell. The heaviest of the malt is a roasted barley malt but there are notes of chocolate and coffee mixed within as well. The sugary smells are mainly of a caramel nature and are mixed with fruit aromas of a raisin, prune and fig. Rounding out all these are aromas of some alcohol as well as some spicy smells and a bit of an earthy hop smell.

Taste – The taste begins sweet with flavors of a caramel and a whole lot of dark fruits. The dark fruits are mainly of a prune flavor but have some hints of a raisin and fig flavors mixed within. There are flavors of a roasted malt breadines upfront as well, which ends up fading ever so slightly as the flavor advances. As the breadines fades, a coffee and chocolate taste begin taking its place. While the flavor advances further, so too comes some of the spice flavors that were detected in the nose (nutmeg and cinnamon). A rather decent potent rum flavor as well as a bit of a woody and earthy flavor then come to the tongue more at the end where it melds well with the prune and darker chocolate and coffee flavors to leave an odd warming flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The beer is on the medium side in terms of its thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the average side. A little lighter of a body may actually have suited the odd mix of fruity flavor and darker flavors better due to the complementation of the fruit and drinkability and lessening of the chocolate and coffee flavors.

Overall – The chocolate and coffee flavors were a little odd in this brew and took away from the nice blend of fruit, malt and rum tastes. Not bad, but not the best Belgian strong dark out there

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Photo of mick303
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, nearly opaque. With some light it shows off some ruby colour. With a creamy head of tan foam, really good lacing. 4

S- brimming with rich malty notes, coffee, syrupy dry caramel. Bitterness is quite light, some herbal and woody notes. Some earthy spice notes coming through, some rummy alcohol spice. Very nice and balanced. 4.25

T- creamy roast malt, a pleasant light alcohol prickle but it is very well hidden, slight tobacco, some dark cocoa, caramel sweetness on finish. Raisin, dried cherries, a bit of wood, light clove pepper and spice, some molasses sugars. A bit of a dry finish, clean barley note. Balance is very well executed. 4.25

M- remarkably smooth, this has a satisfying malty body. Definitely some warming alcohol. A little soft carbonation to liven it up, it is no doubt a big rich beer but has a nice clean finish. 4.25

This is very easy to drink. A satisfying malt-forward dark ale. Offers a really smooth flavour profile with dry dark fruits and some interesting malty esters with quite a low bitterness. It is quite well executed. Probably not my favourite but still a very nice and interesting beer that is worth checking out.

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Photo of newton99
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer is a dark chestnut brown, decent-sized beige head. OK retention, decent lacing.

Smell is quite big. Contains raisin, date, chocolate, nuts, yeast and a bit of alcohol. Quite malty, with some caramel notes.

Taste is like the smell, but sweeter than expected. Raisin, fig, chocolate, caramel and bread. Brown sugar. More alcohol than expected for 8.5%. A good but fairly standard BSDA.

Full bodied, moderate to high carbonation. A bit bready, some alcohol heat.

Overall, quite tasty. Not a world class BSDA but a very nice one.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Maakun
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Colour is very nice dark brown with reddish glow, beige head, medium lacing.

Smell: banana, unripe apples, malts, something slightly burned, liquorice,

Taste: Over-ripe banana, followed by burned toast. Then some fruits (peaches, apple, pear) with a slight tartness. Sweet malt. After it's been in the glass a little while it becomes more balanced and fruity. I get more and more sweet fruit, like peaches, with a slight bitterness. Aftertaste in slightly bitter, more like burned toast.

Mouth: thins and pleasant, light carbonation. Fits the style quite well.

Overall this is quite good, but not totally my style. The burned notes and heavy peach get to be a bit too much for me. Good balance though, and very drinkable.

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 912 ratings