Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Imperial Dark
Brouwerij Het Anker

Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Imperial DarkGouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Imperial Dark
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Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Ranked #2
Ranked #1,160
4.31 | pDev: 10.21%
May 20, 2023
Nov 03, 2002
Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Imperial DarkGouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Imperial Dark
Notes: Formerly Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw.

Every year on the 24th of February, we celebrate the birth of Charles Quint. Therefore we brew a special beer in limited edition called Gouden Carolus Cuvée van de Keizer Imperial Dark (‘Grand Cru of the Emperor’).

This exceptional ale ages well, developing a refined complexity and intense aromas. With powerful notes of roasted malts, caramel and plums, its surprisingly soft and fruity aroma combines a warm roundness with a refreshing taste.

It is imperially crowned with a cork so it can be preserved for a long period of time at a constant cellar temperature of 12° C (54°F). An imperial beer to cherish and enjoy in moderation.
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Photo of Sandis
Reviewed by Sandis from Minnesota

4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Lightly sweet. Some brown sugar, fruit and berry. Medium body and carbonation. Great beer to step away from stouts and IPA for an evening.
May 20, 2023
Rated: 4.44 by Jakepitbull from New York

May 06, 2023
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Reviewed by tobelerone from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Can’t believe I haven’t rated this classic before. I’ve definitely had it in the past but not for years so I picked up a nicely priced (10.99) corked and caged 750, bottled in 2021.

This beer looks phenomenal, with a very dark brown body (approaching black) and a tan head of tightly clustered bubbles that retains strongly and leaves creamy sheeting on the inside of the glass. The smooth fullness of the body, with moderate carbonation, is also a very high point. I was actually surprised at the restrained effervescence as for me it’s dead on and lively without getting too spritzy which I’ve encounter with many other Belgian beers. I actually uncorked this near the sink to be on the safe side but no issues whatsoever there.

Nose is the weaker side of this beer, nothing bad here but simply understated and mild, hints of dark chocolate, bready malt, restrained alcohol, raisin. On the palate the alcohol is again present but contained in a very pleasant way, sweet dark fruit and chocolate predominant, subtler vinous qualities and suggestion of baking spices. Unfolds gradually revealing depths of flavor as it warms.

What a treat. I love to mix it up with an old school European classic now and then and this fit the bill fantastically on a chilly early spring evening.
Apr 09, 2023
Rated: 3.97 by Pro_Magnon from Texas

Mar 07, 2023
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Rated by blauw from Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Best beer in the world, and there are so many awesome competitors (thank goodness)
Mar 07, 2023
Rated: 4.75 by RamonaBeer from California

Jan 03, 2023
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Reviewed by ChainGangGuy from Georgia

4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Appearance: Served up an opaque, mahogany-toned body dressed with a persistent, lofty, beige head with a lovely-looking sheets of lacing on the way down.

Smell: Spiced plum-infused port with a gooey brown sugar glaze atop a dark pumpernickel breadiness garnished with a sliver of bitter orange.

Taste: Broiled brown sugar and treacle with a dash of chocolate powder - soundly sweet. Dark bready, toasted quality. A hint of vanilla with spicy touches of cinnamon, mace and pepper aided by the firm, mature, guiding hands of the warming alcohol presence. Dark fruitiness accented with some berry notes. Rich, slightly sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. It's just sticky enough and lush enough.

Overall: Hearty, nicely complex; makes for a solid sipper.
Dec 14, 2022
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Reviewed by MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
750ml bottle into a teku. 2021 release, a year old.

Looks very nice. Almost black body, deep red wine when held up to the light. Decent tan head, replenishes well with each pour. Does shrink to a ring and faint covering, great lacing.

Sweet caramel aroma, lots of dark skinned fruit a touch of alcohol.

On tasting, first off, it's certainly on the sweet side, caramel and boiled candy. However, there are enough nuances to cut through this. Dark skin fruit, warming, and more to come in the finish.

Mouth a little foamy, close to full. Finish very complex. Sweet caramel to be sure, but the warmth, fruit, dryness, even a light bitter touch are all enjoyed.

Overall, a thoughtfully well made beer. Thanks to Het Anker for putting this out every year for us to enjoy.
Nov 07, 2022
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Reviewed by Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
From the 750ml bottle in a snifter. This awesome brew pours a dark
and muddled brown with ruby highlights and a fantastic head of khaki
foam that settles to a thick ring, thick clumping layer, and sports exceptional
lacing. Nose of date, plum, fig, mulled prune, subtle alcohol ester notes, and
sweet Belgian candy sugars / brown sugar. Flavors hit the mark with plum,
fig, date, stewed prune, cola notes, dark cherry, cranberry, dark sweet bread,
and dark Belgian candy sugars. Nice mouth feel; medium body, medium light
carbonation that is nicely effervescent yet soft, and a sweet yet balanced
finish that is all and all perfect.

Overall----If I had to have just one brew all the time, this one would be in
the running! Exceptional as always!

Oct 29, 2022
Rated: 4.75 by CitizenGrain from Georgia

Oct 04, 2022
Rated: 4.7 by BeardedWalrus from North Carolina

Sep 24, 2022
Rated: 4.35 by Tmappin from Canada (NS)

Aug 22, 2022
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Reviewed by BigIronH from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Pours a deep brown with a finger of mocha head. Nose is brown sugar, molasses, alcohol bite, and toasted malt. Taste follows suit with deep undertones of black cherry and prunes. Feel is full and thick. Overall, well above average. Best beer I’ve had in a while.
Jun 29, 2022
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Reviewed by hopsputin from New Jersey

4.51/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
a: murky, deep dark red/brown/purple mixture. seeing some pale brown when held up to a light. no real head to speak of, though it has a tan film around the edge of the glass; to be expected with the abv i suppose

s: huge aroma on this. fig, plum, raisins, prunes. molasses, brown sugar, leather, and something like a roasted robust woody note. lots of sweet caramel, fruit bread, and candied strawberries. huge malty backbone. fantastic aroma

t: oh my, this follows the nose pretty close. huge caramel and fig upfront. plums, raisins, molasses, brown sugar behind that. big bready backbone. fruit bread, and caramel red apples. a little bit of sweet cherry juice as well. no real alcohol presence, which is impressive given the abv

m: full mouthfeel with strong carbonation

o: absolutely fantastic beer. the rating on here is definitely deserved - this should be a benchmark for the style. so robust and complex, while hiding it's abv. a great beer to share
Apr 24, 2022
Rated: 4 by 1971bernat from Virginia

Mar 17, 2022
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Reviewed by DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey

4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Pours brown with ruby highlights. The foamy tan head diminishes pretty quickly after pouring. Big time nose of raisins and figs. Very smooth on the palate--a nice medium-bodied ale. Told it ages well but couldn't resist this 2021 effort early in 2022. For a younger ale of this type, it was very smooth even without too much additional aging. The flavors are rich and as they are described, primarily dark fruit (plums), caramel and gently roasted malts. A treat worthy of an Emperor.
Feb 28, 2022
Rated: 3.94 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Jan 29, 2022
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Rated by Ferengii

5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
This is my favorite beer of all time!
Dec 26, 2021
Rated: 4.44 by cozmo from New York

Dec 05, 2021
Rated: 4.38 by LesDewitt4beer from Minnesota

Oct 25, 2021
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Reviewed by BeerAndGasMasks from Virginia

4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2017 edition. From the bottle, it pours a brown color with reddish highlights and a nice light brown head that slowly reduces. Dark fruit, raisins, in the nose. The mouth gets that, along with expected malt flavors and a bready taste. Ages well!
Sep 14, 2021
Rated: 4.02 by Madchiotis from Greece

Jul 24, 2021
Rated: 4.82 by chiefz1 from New York

Jun 18, 2021
Rated: 4.67 by beerrat from Virginia

May 23, 2021
Rated: 4.96 by Burg from New Hampshire

May 05, 2021
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Reviewed by hman43 from North Carolina

4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Look: It pours dark brown with a tan head. Head retention is medium.

Smell: Malty rich aromas with strong dark fruits. It has caramel notes with plums and dried cherries. There is some spice in support. It also has light perfumy notes in the background as well.

Taste: The malt flavors are highlighted by deep caramel and a bit of bread. There are plums and dried cherries with a bit of a molasses like element to it. There is a bit of spice well in the background.

Feel: It has a medium full body with a dry finish in spite of the initial sweetness.

Overall, for such a strong alcohol beer, the alcohol is pleasant and warming without any harsh alcohols. A good combination of flavors from the malt, hops and yeast.
Mar 27, 2021
Rated: 4.64 by kodt from Illinois

Mar 25, 2021
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Reviewed by Sigmund from Norway

3.99/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Bottle, RBESG 2005 Grand Tasting. Golden brown colour. Vinous aroma, oaky and sherry notes. Oaky flavour, brandy notes. Quite sweet, but a very good beer.
Mar 18, 2021
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
Reviewed by JonnoWillsteed from England

2.93/5  rDev -32%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5
Blind-tasted except for the beer's name, ABV% and brewery/country, zero reviews below read (yet!)...
L- Beautiful very dark ruby/chestnut-brown. Worth holding up right by a halogen type bulb to see it clearly. On which note it has poured clear, with a 2Cm creamy looking pale-tan head. [ps @+20mins, holds well, forms much lacing on the way down]
S- Very deep rich roasted malts.
[Off-topic: Right at this point I received a text from the NHS inviting me to go for my 1st Covid vaccination this week; hurrah! If this were a monastic beer I might give my thanks to 'Him upstairs' hehe. A few minutes replying to that had had the side benefit of raising the temp a touch from fridge cold :) ]
T- Deep, pungent, notes of deep roast fruit (akin to British Xmas pudding). There are some sweet notes coming in as it warms a touch but capped by a mild ABV% + hoppy-dry lick across the palate into the finish.
F- It is pushing the line between rich (=fine) and sweet (=not fine at all for me) very hard. In fact it crosses it, for me this is beyong rich and into outright sweet. Seems I shouldn't have been distracted, shouldn't have let this warm at all... hehe...
O- It looks and smells great. Unfortunately the outright sweetness here overwhelms just about everything else for me. And it's not like I'm into hop/dry dominated beer at all, this just is sweet. Not one I would drink again even if offered a glass of it; a big shame as I was anticipating that this would be something really impressive. I mean you don't buy 750ml bottles of a new $-beer without high expectations.

--Review/scoring all done, now the reveal, I get to read the bottle lables to see what I missed! -> Nope, no real surprises from the ingredients/description etc.
750ml bottle £9.95 BB: 31/12/2029 Bought from BeautifulBeers/BurySt.Edmunds as part of a large pick-your own consignment to London.
ps Appears to be filtered, zero sediment in glass or bottle.
Feb 19, 2021
Rated: 4 by mrmsmith from District of Columbia

Feb 10, 2021
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Rated by InternetDrunk from Colorado

4.77/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Excellent...2012 vintage in 750ml bottle.
Jan 31, 2021
Rated: 4.35 by Cpmitchno1 from Virginia

Dec 24, 2020
Rated: 4.07 by trevorpost from Pennsylvania

Nov 27, 2020
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Reviewed by jkblr from Indiana

4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
11.2oz bottle vintage 2018 poured into a tulip glass at just above fridge temp 11% ABV. The beer pours dark chestnut in color with light brown head. The head recedes to an irregular ring and single layer of bubbles. Streaky, but complete lacing. The aroma is mild with malt, candi sugar and dark fruits. The taste is a semisweet mix of dark & rich caramel, malt and dark fruit (raisin, date, plum) before a mild to moderate final bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with average carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Nicely balanced. No sign of the ABV in the taste or aroma. Overall, excellent. Outstanding example of a BSDA.
Nov 24, 2020
Rated: 4.74 by AGoodStout from Kansas

Oct 30, 2020
Photo of PathofChaos
Reviewed by PathofChaos from Maryland

4.82/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
A murky, burnished bronze topped by a fluffy lather of tanned beige.

A brisk updraft of single malt grain, like the kind they use for whiskey. A cape of molasses blended with brown wheat bread billows from its shoulders, set aloft by a gentle breeze of oaked vanilla. Miles and miles away from this gregarious forefront, the teeniest, tiniest molecule of milk chocolate can be detected by those with a gifted sense of smell.

A sumptuous, syrupy full body whose imminent smoothness is given a spark of life by a calm, consistent current of carbonation. Finishes with a cozy, grain alcohol warmth.

Here, characteristics of the bouquet are regally magnified on the palate: sugary vanilla and brown wheat with a firm core of oak. Behind the balanced sweetness lies a languid, tingling whiskey heat with candied figs in the aftertaste.

Special notes:
Bottle aged for 3 years
Sep 25, 2020
Rated: 5 by doctorgary from New York

Sep 22, 2020
Rated: 4.58 by XeroD from Germany

Sep 13, 2020
Rated: 4.35 by Insomniac from Canada (ON)

Aug 18, 2020
Photo of 86sportster883
Reviewed by 86sportster883 from Maryland

3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
750 ml 2016 bottle. Looks good, smells very rich with hints of fruit, roast and strength. Tremendous dark fruit and dark bready malt flavors blend well with yeast spiciness and abv to create a powerful, sipping, after-dinner beer that is both filling and intoxicating. Very well balanced, but at the top end of my sweetness scale.
Aug 02, 2020
Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Imperial Dark from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1999 ratings