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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

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Reviews: 404 | Ratings: 854
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 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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Photo of Douberd
4.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330 ml bottle, poured into a tulip glass at home. abv 8.5%
Very impressive appearance! Deep brown colour, with a beige head, three fingers tall, thick and with excellent retention. Heavy lacing around the glass. Red grapes on the aroma, sugars, plums, just a bit of alcohol on the back and another bit of vanilla.
Sweet taste, this one tastes like a good, sweet, red wine. Again vanilla, sugars, dark fruits, a bite of alcohol mostly on the finish. Very complex.
Perfect mouthfeel, if not for the style, surely for my taste. Full, thick body, oily but at the same time somewhat sticky on the palate, and the perfect amount of carbonation.
What an amazing beer. I was so surprised by its appearance and once I took a sniff and then a sip, this beer got me. Also, extra points for being so widely available, without having to chase it around. I'll make sure to grab a couple just for cellaring.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 750 ml corked, caged bottle stamped 05/08/13-1070. Sampled on January 28, 2013. There is no bottling date but by the store's price tag it looks like it was shelved in early 2012 so it could be the 2011 batch.

It pours a dark mahogany brown to deep amber with a modest off-white head that lingers for a short while and goes away.

The aroma is full of all the things that make Belgian Strong Ales unique with plenty of Belgian sugars,. dark malts, yeast, plum, and maybe a whiff of hops.

The body is full.

The taste starts out with sweet malts and sugar followed by a peppery finish that lingers for a short moment. Alcohol is well-integrated into the beer. I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of KingSlayer
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl oz bottle
poured a dark brown translucent liquid, 1 finger white head, persistent top ring, nice lacing, visible carbonation
nose of esters and spices, palate nicely balanced, not as sweet like others in the same style, very dark fruity bit spicy, alcohol well hiddn, medium kind of syrupy body, nice carbonation.
alcohol is masked but packs a punch, nice rounded fruity flavor, i liked it because it wasnt overly sweet.

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Photo of catadoraccidental
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

APPEARANCE: A light cream colored foam that disappears almost completely and very quickly. It can be served at one time without fear of overflow. Leaves no traces on the top of the vessel. Nice dark amber color. AROMA: Very soft, very subtle, but remember that you know nothing. Pleasant. At some point there comes a slight odor of alcohol and roasting, especially as it warms. TASTE: Slightly creamy. Mild and pleasant. Nothing to do with the Rochefort 8. Hugely better. Among drinks, the taste, the presence of the beer is in the middle of the tongue and palate, unlike what happened with the Rochefort 8, in which this occurred at the rear and almost in the throat . It is another detail for this beer. Taste nothing conflicting. Anyone can enjoy it. It receives a very balanced sweetness. Hot, more noticeable citrus persistent itching. As you approach the last drink, improvement, and much. Overall rating: Great. Provides a great time. I reconciled with the BSDA after the bad experience with the Rochefort 8. Repeat. € 2.20

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Photo of PHSCAPT
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A – Poured from a caged and corked bomber at 55F into a Chimay goblet. Pours clear but not clarified deep brown with orange aurora borealis when held to light, with a 1 finger creamy off white head. Nice lacing.
S – perhaps not appetizing but the smell reminds me of silage. If you know what that is without googling, you know exactly the smell.
T – dark dried fruits initially followed by carmel tones and finishing with an ever so slight medicinal taste
M – remarkably smooth, contributes to a 4 on the burp scale with 10 being a cavernous belch.
O – Rebuy. This was my first Belgian a while back and it literally changed the way I felt about beer. I actually liked the way this tasted without having to “develop a taste” for it. Plus the fact that it’s about double the alcohol of your standard American horse kidney product is just better. There so much more complexity here than in most of our mass produced stuff and no hint of bitterness for which one supposedly needs to "develop a taste."

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Photo of Marius
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

33cl bottle. Dark reddish brown with a thin beige head. Smells like fermented apples, apple pie, raisins, prunes. The taste follows the same notes, adding a layer of caramel on top of everything. Medium to full bodied, soft carbonation and a sticky sweet aftertaste. Vintage 2008 (8 years old) is much more mellow, sweet and velvety.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark mahogany//ruby red color with khaki head

Smell - this hit me as soon as I popped the cork, cocoa, spice from that Belgian yeast, cola, plums, raisins

Taste - raisins, plums, cocoa, brown sugar, grapes

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium, lively carbonation, sweet upfront, but not cloying, smooth going down, booze is almost undetectable

Overall - Good example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Price Point - $8.39/750ML bottle

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

The beer is chestnut brown with an inch of beige head that coats the glass with sticky lacing. The aroma offers brown bread, yeast, light sweetness. Delicious flavor. Incredibly smooth on the palate with alcohol masterfully hidden. Subtle notes of banana and fruity sweetness lingers in the aftertaste. Overall, a terrific brew.

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Photo of BeerCon5
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with about one finger of fluffy off-white head with good retention.

The scent is of sweet toasted malt, sweet candied sugars, notes of herbal hops.

The taste is sweet sugar, toasted malts, light herbal hop presence, some notes of molasses.

Medium body, crisp and smooth, moderate carbonation.

This was a really tasty beer with lots of flavor, very easy to drink.

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

A small bottle into a Belgian Independence Day 2012 glass.

Gouden Carolus Classic h a nice dark shade. The color is a shoe polish brown shade with some faint black sections here and there. A nice Belgian Esque head up top with tight dark tan bubbles that have some stick to the glass. Good retention, it lasts to the bottom of the glass. Classic has a nice nose, it is filled with deep rich malt scents, caramel, chocolate, deep dark fruit, plum, fig, raisin. This is billed as a Belgian Brown Ale, and the fruit in the nose signifies that. Some roast with warming, but no alcohol comes out. A great nose! Taste is just as superb. The dark fruit comes out even more, some plum, grape, cdied apple. A nice bready middle showing off the Belgian yeast. Not a hoppy beer, a malty fruit basket bomb beer. Feel is medium with a nice lively carb in the mouth. Refreshing beer here, A Belgian brown with class.

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Photo of Philousa
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This looks black, but against the light I get some leather and dark ruby on the edges. The head is nearly white and billowy, what little there is. A swirl conjures up a dense pillow of foam that is inviting. I get lots of caramel and candied sugar in the nose. Smells airy and creamy. Also a little bit of vanilla and oak, with some biscuit and oatmeal. Lots of juicy fruit up front on the palate: strawberry, cranberry. It fades quickly to thick, rich caramel, sweet candied sugar, some leather, and a bit of that coppery metallic flavor. The mouth feel is silky and slightly watery. Finish is balanced, but tending towards dry. The candied sugar in this does not linger in the throat and annoy like many other Belgians. This is a luxurious drink that is complex and rewards the patient.

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Photo of mikeg67
4.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle. Pours brown with a long lasting off-white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of yeast, brown sugar, dark fruit, caramel, spicy hops and alcohol. Body is full and smooth. Plums, raisins, brown sugar, bready malt, spicy hops and alcohol fill the mouth. Finish is long, semi-dry. Wonderful brew.

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Photo of Serge
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours the colour of dark milk chocolate with a disappearing lacing of white head. Smells of thick caramel syrup, brown sugar and Belgian yeast. The mouthfeel is remarkable; thick, velvety and sweet. Tastes of peppery carbonation at the front of the palate, deliciously sweet caramel in the middle and the trademark banana/clove flavour from the Belgian yeast right at the back of the palate.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour for the 4th Annual LA Beer Week Beer Festival at Union Station in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and spices. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but basic.

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Reddish brown thick with a good amount of bubbles.

S: It's like... very herbaceous. Earthy and spicy... Maybe some maple. Interesting.

T: Very odd. It has a weird like... tumeric flavor almost. Maybe some thyme. That maple comes through a little bit. A little sweet and sour action as well. It's pretty interesting but the alcohol comes through a bit much.

M: A little overly bubbly a little musty but sits decent.

Overall a very unique beer. It has a lot of different aspects and I seem to notice something new with every sip. My problem is it's a little too complicated almost and the taste, although unique, isn't overly pleasing to me. I appreciate it but I probably wouldn't rush to have another.

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Photo of mscudder
4.62/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer well over a year ago and loved it. Having it again with a more primed palette. Poured into a snifter.

A - A beautiful deep opaque black body with a royal ivory head. Solid.

S - Vivid nose on this one. Caramel apples, cherries, fresh spices, chocolate and some smooth malts. Fantastic complexity with refined balance.

T - What a rich, sweet beer at this level of ABV. Starts with some aggressiveness rich flavor; namely cherries, caramelized sugar and a touch of licorice. Follows with some complexity and a creamy nature which matches the slowing sweetness with perfection. Concludes with just a touch of warmth (I would never blindly guess an ABV above 7%) and a bit of dryness. Truly excellent.

M - A large medium body with average carbonation that compliments the style well.

O - I really love this beer. The sweetness is crisp and delicious while retaining a degree of drinkability. The heavy malt sweetness is a pleasure for a closing drink. Not quite sure I would have this aside from a desert occasion (similar to La Fin Du Monde) but I really enjoy it!

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
4.11 out of 5 based on 854 ratings.
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