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Gouden Carolus Classic | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus ClassicGouden Carolus Classic
895 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 895 |  Reviews: 415
Photo of Demosthenes255
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of rekel
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of Ryan1423
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of mdillon86
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of pettis
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gouden Carolus Classic pours a dark brown with frothy head that settles into a one cm lacing. Looks and smells delicious--spice, dark malt, and fruit in the nose. As the beer warms, the Belgian candi sugar comes through much more.

This ale tastes wonderful--even more spice, this time coming through as cinnamon or maybe clove, and fruit on top of a dark malty base. Finishes quite sweet, with the malt and candi sugar linger on the tongue.

Every swirl of the glass brings the head to a creamy froth, which makes for an excellent mouthfeel. Overall, a very satisfying drinking experience. One of the best, and most drinkable, Belgian strong dark ales I've had.

 662 characters

Photo of DoctorB2B
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of scott2269
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of ConchobarNessa
5/5  rDev +21.7%

Photo of Jspriest
5/5  rDev +21.7%

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

A-pours a hazy dark chestnut brown with two fingers worth of creamy colored head

S-Really nice smelling, rich malts, dark fruits, yeast, and a bit of a spicy bite.

T-Taste is very complex but subtle, rich in malts, caramel and juicy plums and other dark fruits, there is a bit of tartness also that seems to come from the fruit and finishes with a spicy yeasty flavor. Excellent.

M-medium body, good amount of carbonation, silky and smooth

First had this beer at the Het Anker brewery and it is just as good as I remember. Worth finding.

 542 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a goblet, served at cellar temp (~60f).

Burnt Umber with orange highlights when backlit. Towering mocha head settle to 2 fingers and eventually leaves a creamy coat of lacing.

Aroma of molasses, alcohol, cloves, plums and other dark fruits such as dates or figs.

Mouthfeel: effortless mousse

Taste: the malt is disguised as Brown sugar sweetness which lays down a bed for a rich prune & plum delightfulness.

Notes: My 2nd Belgian Dark Strong Ale (the other being Chimay Grande Reserve) and I daresay this is a wicked, beguiling style of beer that ranks among the best beers I have had. I guess one either loves the taste profile of molasses & dark fruit or one does not. As a lifelong lover of dark fruitcake I am smitten by these flavors and seek them out as the weather turns colder and the Holiday Season approaches. I will add this beer to my pantheon and eagerly await the next bottle.

 928 characters

Photo of Squelch
3.76/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber colored. Dark. Not cloudy, just dark. Minimal head and lacing.

Smell: Dishwater, followed by honey.

Taste: Extremely complex. Licorace, finishing roasty. I have to take multiple sips to take it all in. Slightly off flavors in the finish or this would be ranked excellent.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy, and hot. Interesting play against the taste.

Overall: A pleasure for the senses, but not my cup of beer...

 420 characters

Photo of jayhawk73
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Churchkey:

Review from notes:

Pours a dark brown color w/ excellent lacing on the snifter glass. Smell is dark fruit, malt, brown sugar and yeast. Somewhat sweet nose on this brew. Very well balanced, and none of the characters stand out. Taste profile is about the same as the nose, with some wood and sweetness really coming out. Feel is medium plus, with good carbonation and an underlying bitterness behind the malt. Overall, this is a really nice beer- but there are better in this style. Glad I got to try it on draft! Cheers.

 546 characters

Photo of IPA35
4.54/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks very dark brown with a reddish hue. Off white head.
Looks nice.

Smells is exceptional: dates, dark cherries, slight sour note, dark fruits in general, dark and sweet malts, belgian yeast, prehaps a hint of wood and some hops in the back.

Next, taste.
Again, very good. Sweet malts, dark fruits, belgian yeast and more bitterness than expected. Sour/fruity aftertase as well as a medium dry bitter finish. Sweet but also spicey.

As it warms up it becomes less sour and a tad more robust with the malts becoming more pronounced.

Mouthfeel is quite thin, the carbonation is not huge but it certainly bites in your tongue. The alcohol is very well hidden.

Overal one of my favourite Belgian brews, of the ones I had. Easy to get also. I wonder why I should look out for overpriced and hard to get American brews when I can get this for €1.70?

Fit for an Emperor.

Served in a Kasteel glass.

 901 characters

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

Had on tap at Churchkey in DC

A - Dark mahogony with almost a purplish hue in certain lights. Fluffy white head that settles to thin lacing with good lace on the glass

S - Dark fruits and sweet & spicy alcohol. Rum soaked plums, raisins, brown sugar. Enticing aroma.

T&M - Very much like the smell with the dark fruits and alcohol really coming through. Light carbonation and a thinner mouthfeel than expected. Almost a cola type of sweetness that is muted a bit by the spicy alcohol.

O - A very nice sipper that I really enjoyed. Not quite as complex as others I've had like Chimay Reserve but great flavors and aromas overall

 632 characters

Photo of magictacosinus
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 330ml bottle. Freshness date is "07/04/14."

Apparently this beer can be considered to be a brune or a dubbel, but I think BA's categorization of the style pretty much hits home. Although what's undeniable is how much like a dubbel that *this* looks. With a reddish, darkened color with a decent head slowly shrinks, I can tell that this is probably going to be a malty one. Still, with the carbonation grazing all around the head, and the foam sticking to the glass, it's very beautiful.

The smell here is absolutely excellent, releasing malty notes but plenty of brown sugary aromas. There's substantial caramel with a big, bready scent. Honey is definitely prevalent, and there are notes of tamarind as well. Definitely leans more towards a candy-sweetened side than a fruity side, which makes me hope that this thing isn't too sugary.

With one sip, I'm instantly proven wrong! Not nearly as sweet as it smells, the beer instantly grabs your tongue with heavy malts and spiciness aided by the hops. While it is strong in ABV, it's not noticeable at all until you finish your sip. As this thing warms up, the malts become more present, but so do fruity esters such as cherries and blackcurrent. (Or blackberries? You decide.) It's far creamier than I'd expect it to be, and the flavor is extremely nice and toasty.

As this warms up, the difficulty to categorize this beer is revealed. It's malty like a dubbel, but it's got the roasted flavor of a strong dark ale. No matter what, though, it's a great beer to drink. You get introduced with the malty notes, then immediately swoon by the fruity, toasty, and hoppy flavors, and then completely warmed up by the high ABV. It may smell sweet, but the sugar and alcohol is nearly absent from the flavor as a whole until it warms up. This is an extremely well balanced ale that I would champion in its beer style. Definitely worth buying more of, despite its obvious strength that doesn't make it too "sessionable." Whatever, that's not the point of this brew, so drink away and enjoy the crap out of it!

 2,087 characters

Photo of nickhiller
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: coppery brown, healthy head with the telltale Belgian lacing.

S: potpourri, perfume, cherries.

T: maple syrup, brown sugar and candy--sugar plain and simple.

M: syrupy, coats your entire mouth. Carbonation is mellow but present.

O: drinkable beer but I think I might need schedule an appointment with a dentist now.

 323 characters

Photo of cdkrenz
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a large snifter the beer is the color of prunes except a bit more on the brown side. The head started out frothy with a thin layer (1/4") covering the entire surface. Rather quickly that faded and now a foamy head that resembles bath bubbles covers most of the top.

S - Anise, plums, boozy, and all are somewhat pungent.

T - Aggressive and fermented plum flavor right from the get go. There's a mildness to the flavor that overcomes each pull. It seems to begin pungent but end mild with a caramel malt flavor. The finish leaves a caramel and mild plum residue as well.

M - Very smooth as if there is no carbonation. The brew is wet and may go down a bit too easy.

~ This is a fantastic beer. I will seek out this beer again and when I find it I will by at least two. One to enjoy on a cold winter night in front of a fire and another to cellar for a few years. I bet this brew cellars very well... and I intend to find out.

 945 characters

Photo of jnn4v
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Chestnut brown, with slight to moderate level of haze. Foamy light tan head filled about 40% of the glass. No visible sediment.

S: Figs, dates, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, spices, mulled cider, caramel apples. Smells absolutely delicious - almost like a winter / holiday version of a traditional quad.

T: Much like the scent, but is unfortunately much more subdued and muted. I didn't get any of the apple flavors that I noted in the scent, though. It's much more like a dubbel or quad - almost halfway between the two. Dark malts, Belgian yeast, etc.

M: Good body, although not quite as dense as I'd hoped. Ample carbonation, although it did fade off about 15 minutes in.

O: I really enjoyed this beer, although unlike most belgian darks, it seemed to deteriorate as it warmed, rather than improving. If you're good at consuming your brews quickly, or if you're sharing with someone else, don't hesitate to try this beer.

 937 characters

Photo of cbbjr
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap in a snifter at Churchkey. Appearance is very dark brown with a creamy head (although it was pretty dark in the bar, so take this with a grain of salt). Smell and taste is dominated by fig, brown sugar, raisin, and very slight nutty and faint alcohol taste. Fairly sweet, without being over the top. Mouthfeel is solid, low carbonation and silky smooth.

I'm a big fan of this style, and this is an outstanding example. I'd rank it above Chimay Blue and it gives Rochefort 8 a run for its money (although I have only had those from the bottle). If you see it on a draft list, I highly recommend you go for it.

 616 characters

Photo of imbibehour
4.85/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into an official Gouden Carolus glass.

A super creamy head can be formed of light brown toffee on the slow pour. Looks whipped up and frothy. Body is a gorgeous chestnut dark brown and red hues.

Bouquet is a candy store treat. Sweet plump raisins and brown sugar. Malt dense and hint of small quinine like tonic. In one short word, fabulous.

Taste is, just joy. So incredibly light but with a dense coating. Faint bitter chocolate in the palate mixes with an almost roasty dark malt, giving to brown sugar and figs. Stupidly velvet texture coats everywhere. Just a hint of carbonation and sting. No sense of boozy alcohol not even a hint!

This beer never fails me i've had it so many times for years. It's just nearly perfect.

 753 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Churchkey yesterday. Served in a mini-snifter.

Pours a fairly-dark brown color with some crimson highlights. The nose brings forward a hefty amount of dark fruits along with some brown-sugar character. Dark fruits galore. Cherry and grape there as well. Flavor is lightly-sweet with plenty of fruit character and a creamy feel to back it all up. Chewy with moderate carbonation. Really well-done version of the style.

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Gouden Carolus Classic from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 895 ratings
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