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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Style:
Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #3
ABV:
11%
Score:
96
Ranked #574
Avg:
4.34 | pDev: 10.14%
Reviews:
924
Ratings:
1,951
From:
Brouwerij Het Anker
 
Belgium
Avail:
Winter
Wants
  271
Gots
  372
SCORE
96
World-Class
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.
Reviews: 924 | Ratings: 1,951 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by output01x:
Photo of output01x
4.09/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330 mL. capped bottle (Dated 12/07/11) into a snifter glass.

A moderate pour yields a 1-finger cream-colored head that dissipates after a couple minutes to a thin, clumpy dusting and thick foam ring. The body is a very dark (yet clear) mahogany brown with crimson when held to light. A very good amount of carbonation bubbles can be seen popping up almost everywhere. Some nice lacing can be seen throughout consumption.

This beer really smells like the produce section of your local grocery store. Notes of sweet dark fruit (plum and raisin mostly), candied apples, green grapes, and asian pear are all detectable. The nose is very complex and will surely be interpreted differently by each person that smells it.

Right off the bat, sweet fruit flavors come out at the beginning of each sip. Notes of banana, fig, plum, red apple, grapes. As the beer is swallowed, a cider alcohol flavor quickly rushes the palate but quickly turns into a generic alcohol warmth as dark fruit flavors sneak back in. Red grapes, apple cider, and raisin linger on the tongue as an aftertaste.

Medium bodied with excellent carbonation, this beer is deceptively drinkable at 11% ABV. The body may seem a bit light but certainly does not hinder the flavors nor become sticky. The carbonation is rather fizzy when the beer is held in the mouth but does not seem to effect the experience much.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Dark, reddish-brown in color with a gorgeous head. This one looks serious.

Smell - This is grand cru heaven. The malt base is covered in sweet toffee, caramel, and orange flavors that are big as Mt. Rainier. The brown sugar sweetness is almost palatable on the nose.

Taste - This is perfection. The deep, sweet flavors of brown sugar, orange, liquid toffee, and caramel meld together in an incredible blend. The slightly toasted malt flavors are there as well, but this is all about that sticky, sweet taste of sugary perfections that is the Belgian Grand Cru. There's also just a hint of alcohol notes to warn of the typically high 10.0 ABV.

The chewy nature of this flavor is complimented by hearty plums, some tobacco, thick, rich apricots, and maybe even some apples. This is sugar at its best.

Mouthfeel - The slight carbonation, in accordance with the style, is complimented by the amazing buttery smoothness of the sugary ingredients.

Drinkability - If you have a sweet tooth and love fine Belgian ales, this is the one for you. God forbid you should be a Grand Cru fan - you HAVE to try this ale.

Comments - The label reads, "Gouden Carolus," over the top and, "Carolus D'or," on the bottom. There's a blue banner with gold writing that looks to be labeled diagonally across the bottle, although it is clearly part of the manufactured label, that reads, "Grand Cru of the Emperor." This is indeed fit for royalty.

Update - I popped a vintage 2000 in 2004. The aroma is even deeper than when it was fresh, but the flavors were washed out a bit. The musty, dirty, cellared flavors though were a delight. Four years is probably too old for this guy; maybe two or three max. It has been my experience that Grand Crus are usually good fresh and almost always peak at a year or two in the cellar.

Update - I had a 2005 at the end of the 2005 year. I'm convinced that this brew should not be cellared.

Fresh this is absolutely incredible! It's really one of the best beers that I've ever had. It represents exactly to me what I think of when hearing the term "grand cru". It's thick yet super sweet. It is incredibly complex. It melts in your mouth. It makes you feel like a king.

Update - I had a 2010 in 2010 just to test my theory that Grand Crus are really just cellared BSDAs and I think I proved my point. This is smooth, well-aged, with even some musty characters, and is incredibly drinkable after just a few months in the bottle.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A perennial favorite beer since arriving on locals shelves a few years ago. I am always taken back and question why my refrigerator isn't stocked with the beer.

The beer opens with a highly carbonated pour that allows a 1/3 pour before the foam breaches the top of the chalice. The first pour from the 750 delivers nearly perfect clarity and aggressive effervescence. Subsequent pours bring much more haze (from bottle conditioning) and lightened carbonation. A lightly tanned foamstand carries sprinkles of spices and yeast while taking on an airy and loosely-knit appearance.

Aromas strongly favor the fruity esters. Plumbs, grapes, figs, dates, apples, cherries, raisons, and prunes all culminate for a complex and richly sweet sensation to the nose. Candied malts ride along, just beyond the fruitiness. Finally spicy orange, white pepper, paradise seed, and cinnamon all seem yeast derived (not added later) and decorate the aromas quite nicely.

Flavors, like the aroma, show aggressive fruitiness up front and ultimately dominate the beer. While pilsner malts provide the slightest of foundations for flavor, the candi-sugars have as much (maybe more) of an impact than do the softer grains. Fruitcake flavors, spices, and a alcoholic, rum-like flavor balances out the fruity esters and spicy phenols and give another layer of complexity. Finishes with some residual sugar flavors on the tongue that at times resemble cola.

The textures straddle the fence of dry and drinkable vs. sugary and mouth coating. Alcohols and well attenuated maltiness ultimately drive the beer into a dry finish with light residual sweetness left on the palate. Otherwise, full, rich, and expansive because of the onslaught of carbonation and sweetness.

The first pour from the bomber brings cleaner fruit flavors with a less muddled character; however it may lack richness and complexity. Later pours bring a deeper, maltier flavor from the sediment in the bottle, and left the beer less dry and palatable. I prefer the later pours after the sediment had been aroused. As for Strong Dark Belgian Ales, this beer applies a very fruit-driven signature rather than a malt-forward base as do most.

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Photo of JMS1512
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On the docket: 750 mL cork and cage bottle of Brouwerij Het Anker’s Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue) bottled: 2/24/2012

Poured into: Hand-washed Maredsous stemmed goblet

S: A luxurious raisin-brown body sits beneath a beige head that builds, then dies. Some soapish suds hang around, plus a round bubble-peninsula formed on one side of the goblet.

A: A date-lover’s dream. Rich aroma of dark fruit, fig, dates. Plums. Subtle spicy phenols, and tell-tale fruity yeast esters (plus a small hint of bubblegum). A bouquet fit for a king (or an emperor). The hops here are quite muted at the outset. The alcohol too, is well integrated into the beer, as I can’t detect from sniffing this beauty that it’s 11% abv.

T: Oh. My. God. Dark notes of molasses, Belgian candi-sugar, bittersweet chocolate. Fruit overtures of… is that raspberry? A slightly tart and medicinal cherry. Plums. Dates and figs bow to the tongue. This guy also contains port notes (not to be confused with Portnoy- an emperor in his own right). Hey, don’t forget the light impression of leather and tobacco– that one takes a bit to show up, but it’s there. Call me a joker, but I also get a little bit of soy sauce and yeah, I’ll go there- umami. Just a hint of bitterness and astringency, but in a pleasant way.

F: I don’t say this often about mouthfeel, but this beer has it all. It possesses great carbonation, especially on the roof of the mouth. Slick and regal, and at the same time, made deceptively light due to the aforementioned carbonation. It’s got a long finish, and this is where the alcohol is most present. Give it a few seconds. A rampant lion, that booze.

O: This Belgian Strong Dark is more than capable of expanding his empire into your mouth and subjugating your senses. However, this is more of a friendly annexation, not a hostile-takeover. Though I’m not truly an expert (in my head I am), I’d say it’s fair to theorize that an older bottle might have more port, and a younger bottle feel a bit hotter in the alcohol department. 4 years? Perfect. Though this is not Chimay Grand Reserve, this is truly a regal libation.

S: 4 A: 4.25 T: 4.75 F: 4.5 O: 4.5

Suggested food pairing: Korean beef barbecue, creamy and pungent cheese, fruit cakes, candied fruit

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a 750 ml brown bottle, corked and caged. 2002. Cellared at 60F. The label reads 8% alc by volume (although it may actually be a bit stronger).

The Grand Cru of the Emperor (Charles V) pours a clear dark chestnut brown body with ruby highlights beneath a frothy head of ivory foam that holds exceptionally well and leaves very nice, wide sheets of thin Brussels lace. Very nice!!!

The nose entices you to partake with notes of toffee; darkened brown sugar; sweet, crusty, honey-glazed bread; some dark fruit (mainly raisins); brandy; and a quick spritz of orange.

In the mouth it's delicately zesty on the tongue, and then quite creamy with a very fine, natural-carbonation and medium body.

The flavor offers a briliant, sugary mix of raisins and rich toffee with a hint of orange-chocolate in the background. The yeast also tosses in some mild bubblegum-like phenolics (sugar and clove-like spice) that turns it a touch candyish. Some herbal hops appear at the swallow and lend it an earthy, mineralish edge that helps to round out its candyish character. The bitterness is a touch limited as might be expected, but it punches through the malt midway, and there's enough there to keep it from becoming cloying in the long-lingering finish. The alcohol appears once it warms a bit, but keeps to the wings (except in the finish); and it actually adds a touch of spiciness that's welcome against the candyish malt.

Tasted side by side with a bottle of the Classic Carolus, this is clearly just a bumped up version of the standard that might include better malts (perhaps some Munch malts) and a longer, cooler fermentation and maturation period. They are very much the same beer, but this one is much more nicely done. It's thoroughly enjoyable, and as it can age at least 3 years, I'd highly suggests you grab a few bottles and pull one out during special occassions each year. I can easily see this working with a Thanksgiving dinner (before, during, or after), or as a toasting beer during the holiday season. It will work with numerous food pairings, including glazed pork chops, BBQ ribs, and char-grilled steak. Highly recommended!

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Photo of sessycuban
2.89/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2006 vintage. Purchased at Whole Foods.

A: The beer pours a dark amber, leaving a thin head that quickly dissolves. Very minimal lacing.

S: The beer is overwhelmingly dominated by the smell of bananas and caramel; also, lots of spices which I can't quite distinguish.

T: I'm experiencing a very strong maple taste that I don't particularly enjoy. The high alcohol content is very evident and the spices are overwhelming any other taste in this beer. I have to admit, this is probably the sweetest beer I've ever had.

M: The beer is medium bodied and coats the mouth well, but because I didn't particularly enjoy the taste, it's not really a beer I plan to sip.

D: I'll probably never try this beer again. In my estimation, the beer is overspiced and way too sweet. Some, however, may enjoy these qualities and would appreciate the beer more than do I.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage! 1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap over a cork served into a Uinta brewing pilsner glass (it was all that was available) in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are very high given the brewery and style. I'm hoping it beats Chimay Blue.

Served after a rest period from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki colour head of nice cream, good thickness, and excellent retention for the high ABV. Colour is a very dark yet vibrant and evocative brown. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Nontransparent. Opaque.

Sm: Magnificent dark malts, biscuit malt, clean malts, dark malts, biscuity yeast, fantastic caramelization, cream, plum, and heavy wine notes (mostly red, with even a tannin-like character). Surprisingly acidic. A delightfully fruity, rather subtle aroma. Really quite remarkable. I can't wait to try it.

T: Great cream throughout, with plum, wine grape, and other indistinct fruit notes. The gentle malt backbone lends it body but doesn't intrude on the flavour. Hops are floral if present; no bitterness comes through at all. Nor does any alcohol, which is quite a feat at this ABV. Some nectar on the back end. It's nicely yeasty, which I think helps complement those fruit notes. Some raisin here and there. It's not as winey as suggested by the aroma but still maintains that distinct character, especially on the climax. Tinges of caramelization help keep it interesting. It's full of surprises, and boasts an impressive depth of flavour as well as an interesting complexity. Quite subtle. It's brought off quite well; I adore it. A touch too acidic.

Mf: Just enough cream. Smooth and wet, aiding the drinkability. Supports the flavours without intruding upon them. Good (though fairly high) thickness. It can feel a bit viscous at times, but overall it's quite alright. It could use a touch more coarseness, but I'm nitpicking. Carbonation is near perfect; it drinks well now - even after five years.

Dr: I think the age likely did it well. Maybe one more year and it'd peak. Very drinkable for its incredibly well concealed ABV. I'd definitely get this again. Worth picking up some bottles for the cellar as well. A fantastic beer in the style, giving even Chimay Blue a run for its money in my book. Indeed, I think I prefer this one. And it isn't even priced all that highly for its quality. This is something of an overlooked treasure. I'd definitely recommend it to friends. One thing that does bother me is the proliferation of grapey notes, which can tip the balance of the flavour off at times.

B+

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Photo of JackRWatkins
2.76/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.75

750 ml bottle in snifter glass at 1 year and 4 months
A: sudsy subtle 1 finger head, deep brown almost opaque with subtle hints of ruby
S: instant pilsner malt, some thick chocolate richness and dark fruit, full and sweet
T: wow this beer is sweet, I mean not even a hint of hoppy bitterness, caramel malts and a lighter bodied chocolate dominate this beer, but there's a bit of that pilsner malt that hangs around and is odd but not off putting, some cherry notes come in and marry with the caramel malts and add a tartness to the sweet
M: a bit dry but not too dry, pleasant, the sweetness in the taste distracts from the dryness in a way that I wish it did not
O: quite pleasant, but too sweet for me, I think the prominence of the pilsner malts is a nice and interesting touch, would be a great introduction to belgian strong dark ales, very accessible, but suitably complex, not my favorite, but not bad, will age some in hopes that the sweetness will dissipate some

Observation made later, after this original review: I CAN'T LIE TO MYSELF ANYMORE, THIS IS NOT A GOOD BEER, IT IS UNBEARABLY SWEET

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Photo of MrDell
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16.04.2016

Gouden Carolus – Cuvée van de Keizer Blauw 2014
Belgian Strong Dark Ale – 11% - 750ml Bottle – Brewed 24.02.2014 - Best before 23.06.2024


Appearance: Loads of smoke when I popped the cork on this one. Pots a deep brown with one finger off white head. Very lively, and noisy, carbonation. Loads of lacing being left on the glass. Looks very nice served from the 750ml corked bottle into the correct, gold rimmed, glass.

Aroma: Tobacco, dried dark fruits. Smells a little musty. Dark malts and burnt toffee. Can just pick up the alcohol but it's not overpowering considering the ABV. Licquorice and all the classic dark Belgian strong ale aromas.

Taste: WOW! Very complex and an absolutely huge finish. Very sweet malt upfront, then a huge hit of yeast flavour and then strong liquorice, dark fruits and alcohol. The finish is phenomenal and goes on evolving forever. It's a difficult one to describe as there is so much going on and it's all good. I’m also getting black treacle, demarara sugar and golden syrup (sounds sickly, and while it is sweet, it is not overly sweet like some). Reminds me of a nice port wine, but with the added bonus of all of the above flavours.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, just the right amount of carbonation. Perfect for the style.

Overall: This is an extreme beer from Belgium, its very strong, very dark and very complex. This bottle is two years old and tastes absolutely fantastic but I can tell that any younger and it would be too harsh. This is one of those beers that needs time to soften and is then going to get better and better. Looking forward to sampling this again at 5 years old. For now though, this is the best beer I've had in a long time. 10/10.

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Photo of Naerhu
2.26/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer in the top 100? You must be joking.

I had to take a $20 cab ride and spend another $20 bucks to get this beer, so I was anticipating something special.

A - Beautiful amber body with small brown head and decent lacing.
S - Sweet yeast, molasses and iodine.
T - Extremely sweet, flabby with no balancing acidity or bitterness. This malty soup of sweetness is a desert. Divided among four beer drinkers, the bottle went unfinished.
M - Minimal carbonation, fat with unbalanced sugars.
D - I cant abide by this unbalanced sweetness. This beer is to sweetness as Stone's Ruination is to bitterness. Only times two.

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Photo of khmel
4.74/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a deep, opaque brown with a small, light tan head with decent retention. Nice lacing. The nose is caramel, molasses, mascerated cherries, and malt/wort — with a hint of homemade marshmallow. The flavor is deep and complex. Sweet, caramel malt flavors, cherries, with some more bitter bourbon notes towards the finish. The mouthfeel is rich and silky. Really extravagant with very mild carbonation and a slightly dry finish. This beer really is exquisite and should be savored. Try it!

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Photo of cjgiant
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottle (7/2014) :
Beer pours what I am guessing is a ruby-brown (dark bar). Head is foamy and lasts, although there are some rather large bubbles produced as well. Lacing is medium light, some alcohol lines present.

The nose almost makes me think brandy or port, dark cherry, raisin, caramel, toffee, maybe a hint of orange zest. There's also a weird almost musty scent in there as well, but it seems to fit so well to me.

Taste is similar to nose, muted, with raisin and date coming through a bit more than any cherry from the smell. Sweetness is more cola or even birch beer in nature, and again, subdued. Finish is actually a bit carbonated.

The beer has a strange "flatness" to it, which is not representative of the level of carbonation. It's actually rather light despite the darker flavors. The alcohol does come through in some sips, but is mostly well hidden.

I really enjoyed this beer tonight. Maybe it's a situational thing, as I had some salty food earlier, and the dark sweetness of this beer may have balanced that perfectly. Definitely gonna grab this to make sure.

Follow up (4/2015): a little older (but constantly refrigerated) beer showed a little more alcohol in the feel. Still a lovely brew, but with a little more fruit tartness (apricot, peach maybe).

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.81/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Vintage 2013. I think (and hope) this one will improve with age. Not to say it was an awful beer. (It's mainly because I have 3 more and generally get a kick out of the fact that you can age a beer).

Semi-opaque, wine-dark brown. Nearly black. As I drink it and look down, brightens nearly to bronze or sienna. Foamy, medium-retention head. Film forming and quite lacy. Aromatically, it's boozy sweetness, light banana and other esters, spicy phenols, roasted malts. Together, very much like balsamic vinegar. Tastes a bit too estery for my normal drinking palate, but that's okay since this beer is meant to be sipped. Good opportunity to pair it with something that will make it seem less sweet. Other than that, it's pretty much all malt. Alcohol is mostly blended with esters and there is no hop-character or even spice to speak of. Plenty of carbonation, but gentle and smooth drinking. Thick, a little chewy. ABV and sweetness make for a wet finish, with a little bit of that warming/tingling sensation, and a slight burn going down. In the mouth, overall, it's like cola syrup with rum and tonic water.

Anyone catch the Homer (not Simpson) reference?

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Photo of VABA
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Revisited 10/31/19

A-Pours a very dark amber color with a generous head and lacing
A-Generous complex fruity aromas
T-The taste follows the nose with abundant rich and complex fruity flavors
M-A medium bodied well carbonated beer
O-A very well done, very well balanced beer with a lot of character that hides the high alcohol content very well

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Photo of WetCoaster
2.15/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

I'm completely baffled by this beer. It looks beautiful; a lovely cola brown with a thick, slightly off-white head. Smells great, with strong plum and yeast ester notes. The mouthfeel was creamy and dense, if a bit undercarbonated. That's the good.

Then there's the taste. I'm familiar with Belgian ales and their peculiarities and eccentricities—I realize they're not all for everyone. But this was just… syrup. I can't recall ever having a beer that was this cloyingly, overpoweringly, nauseatingly sweet. There was no balance or nuance whatsoever; it was like, I don't know, a Myers and Dr. Pepper with five teaspoons of sugar? A Flanders Red and corn syrup cocktail?

I don't know if this was an off bottle, but my GOD was this awful. Huge disappointment; I can't imagine ever drinking this again.

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Photo of desertcom1
4.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I consider this one of my favorite sipping beers. The Belgians have been brewing beer for hundreds of years and I think they nailed this one for a BSDA. I totally understand why they call this the "Grand Cru of the Emperor". This heavy bodied beer pours a dark ruby red with a fine frothy head. It has a complex taste of caramelized malts, raisins and figs come to mind, maybe a little cardamon with a pinch of allspice. This beer/wine is intended to be drunk at around 52 to 54 degrees F. I know we Americans like ice cold beer but this really goes down good at that temperature. I honestly can't get enough of this beer. My hats off to Charles Leclef of the Van Breedam family for introducing this beer in 1999. Thanks Charlie, keep it com'en.

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Photo of Tele
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: Bottle (2015 vintage)
Consumed: 1.13.16

A: 4.5 Pours a slightly hazy, reddish-brown. The large khaki head lasts a few minutes and leaves lots of lace in the glass.

S: 4.25 Smells a bit oxidized at first – musty basement and a bit of cardboard. Caramel, vanilla, and raisins come through as the beer warms. As does the Belgian yeast with lots of phenols and spice.

T: 4.5 Starts off rather sweet but tons of flavor to balance it out. Toffee, raisins, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove are right up front with a bit of ground coffee, dark chocolate, and mild oxidized flavors in the background. Just a hint of booziness and bitterness lingering on the finish.

M: 4.75 Really terrific feeling beer with just the right amount of carbonation. Quite drinkable considering the abv and how much flavor there is; I think the slightly dry finish helps in this regard.

O: 4.5 Pretty great Belgian strong ale. Up there with some of the best quads.

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Photo of stortore
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml into a tulip, 2014 bottle dated 4/3/14.

Dark for the style. Decent, tight head. Clings to the glass after the head dissipates. Smells of malt, caramel. A little yeasty, a hint of coffee. Taste is pretty incredible. Sweet and malty. Getting some raisins and dates, caramel continues from the nose. Very nicely carbonated, coats the tongue.

This is an awesome beer that should be on everyone's list to try. Seeing other recent reviews, I guess I should get another and let it age? Where's my car keys?

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Photo of spacecake9
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I was checking out beers in my local beer store and decided not to buy anything unless it jumped out at me. Then I saw this. Been on a Belgian kick lately so here we go.
A - Pours a dark brown with 1 finger head of tight little bubbles. In the light you get amber around the edges.
A - Aroma is raisins or figs.
T - Flavor is - wonderful. Sweet, dark fruit, raisiny, with a little bite of alcohol.
M - Quite carbonated, medium body.
O - Wow, I really like this. Definitely going back to buy a few more. Outstanding! Whenever I have a beer like this I wonder why I drink anything else.

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Photo of wl0307
4.16/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(2006 Vintage) Coming in a 750ml straight brown bottle, bottle-conditioned, corked and caged; BB 27/02/16, served cool in a long-stemmed, narrow rimmed wine goblet.

Appearance: pours fairly dark brown colour, coming with a nice layer of dark beige froth settling slowly to a thin sheet to last, while the carbonation is generally very mild after so many years of ageing in the bottle.
Smell: full of lightly stale and sour-sweet raisins, black cherries, jammy black prunes, fig jam and black sugar on the nose, uplifted by a wave of wonderfully lively and creamy floral&fruity esters with an interesting touch of fragrant hop resins and honey comb, which manifest following a few good swirls; the base remains oily dark malty, with hints of Munich malts and burned caramel. All in all, the smell is very much like an old-style, darker-hued barlywine boosted with extra sugary notes and esters. Also a mild hint of warming alc. is revealed in the remote corner, but never so pronounced.
Taste: the carbonation is still softly tingling after so many years of ageing, underlining a complex and lovely profile of smooth, prune-ish fruitiness and mixed dried forest berries, against a rather light & soothing dark malt background with additional spicy & sour-sweet fruity elements; the mid-taste turns mildly dry as well as estery, leaving lingering undertones and aroma of delicious black prunes, black sugar, and a more faint presence of liquorice candy in the end. The flavour is in general quite sweet, and still tastes very different than an English barleywine in lacking a lightly sherry-like palate in the end, whereas the supplement of fruity esters is definitely welcomed to help reach a balance.
Mouthfeel & Overall: soft and lubricating on the palate, this full-bodied and fulsome vintage strong ale is absolutely gorgeous, ageing well following a good 7 years in the bottle, never tasting sickly or heavy as far as my palate is concerned. The time has been well spent, I think, but this is not to say a younger vintage would’ve been any less complex.

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Photo of Boppar
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a truly remarkable beer. I had the pleasure of sharing a 750 mL bottle (vintage 2006) with a very good friend of mine.

After pouring into a chalice, I noticed that the head quickly disappeared into a few seductive strands of lace that simply would not take "no" for an answer, and remained in my glass for the duration.

The beer itself is a hazy reddish-brown (the red is even more noticeable when the glass is held up to the light). It smells like sweet, resinous fruits, with an underlying alcoholic warmth due to the 10% ABV. Take note of the 10 points when you smell the glass, because you certainly cannot taste them.

But the complex array of flavors is where this beer truly shines. Dates and figs dominate the palate, with raisins following closely behind them, yet somehow, this beer is not overly-sweet.

I gave this beer a "3" in the drinkability category only because with a beer as rich and complex as this, I really wouldn't want to drink these all night. In fact, I was glad I didn't have to tackle that 750 alone. That being said, I wish I had one right now...

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Photo of SShelly
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007- grand cru of the emperor

Thick aroma of chocolate, dark fruit, belgian esters, powerful and awesome.

Rich dark malt with fruity esters, dark fruit, slight sweetness left on the pallet.

Very lively in the mouth, warms up the chest nicely, no hot alcohols...very impressed with the feel of this beer

One of my favorite beers, had it on tap a month ago and thought it was excellent then as well, a definite must whenever you see it!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sticker on neck of bottle indicates 2009 vintage.

Pours a clear root beer color with a 1/2 inch tan head that fades to an oily film. Broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is awesome with sweet biscuit-like malt, caramel, molasses, dark fruits, and alcohol aromas. Taste is exactly like the smell with a very sweet and rich set of complex flavors. This beer has a good carbonation level with a crisp and slightly prickly mouthfeel. The alcohol hits the back of the throat with each sip and creates a warming on the drink down. Overall, this is a very good beer with awesome dark fruit/molasses flavors.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle served in an oversized wineglass. 2008 vintage.

pours an opaque deep mahogany tone with ruddy highlights. finger plus of a creamy khaki colored head; decent retention and nice walls of lacing. solid looking BSDA.

the nose is robust and malty sweet, replete with dark fruits (notably cherry and raisin), belgian yeast, brown sugar, and maybe a touch of molasses. pretty much what i look for in my belgian strong darks. flavor closely follows the aroma, opening with a strong cherry presence and followed in short order by spice and other dark fruits (plum, raisin, fig), and molasses, along with generous helpings of caramel and brown sugar. complex and nicely balanced; definitely on the sweet side but not overly so. bit of warming alcohol to the finish, though other than that the 11% ABV is very well-hidden. tasty, tasty.

full bodied mouthfeel with a bit of chew to it; adequate carbonation. very drinkable and a nice surprise as i knew very little about this one when i picked it up. nothing like going in without expectations and being very pleasantly surprised. exceptional belgian strong dark ale.

originally reviewed: 11-15-2010

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Photo of imperiallibations
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Gouden Carolus Cuvée Van De Keizer Imperial Dark from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1951 ratings