Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
Brouwerij Het Anker

Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
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Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Ranked #78
Ranked #13,141
3.95 | pDev: 14.94%
Friday at 10:40 PM
Nov 24, 2002
For more than 35 years we had to miss the Christmas beer but in 2002 the tradition was restored with Gouden Carolus Christmas. It’s a strong, dark ruby red beer with character and contains an alcohol percentage of 10.5 % alc.vol. Brewed in August, the beer rests a few months to reach an optimal balance. Three kinds of hops and 6 different kinds of herbs and spices define the rich taste of this Christmas beer. Top-class!
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by bark:
Photo of bark
Reviewed by bark from Sweden

4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Best before “09.08.08”, I’ll guess that I have stored this bottle in my larder for one or two years.

The hazy liquid is deep amber-brown; the enormous beige compact foam sinks slowly while making a loud fizzing sound and leaving massive lacing.

The strong smell is drier and more hoppy than expected. Rich, spicy wine-like flavours hits the nose; matured sherry, fresh apricots, alcohol (quite a lot of it, actually), nutmeg, sweet raisins, hazelnuts and almonds and a touch of banana peels.

The first sip is sweet and mild like strawberry syrup, but then an alcoholic bomb explodes in my mouth: Bittersweet matured notes like red apples, peach, treacle, malt vinegar, caraway… The lasting aftertaste is sweet with matured notes of old strong wine and some minerals (a hint of iodine).

The carbonation is medium strong with lots and lots of minimal tickling bubbles. The liquid is smooth and a little bit thick.

Once again I must admit that this is a grand beer indeed. A little less carbonation and alcohol and it would have been perfect.
Jan 24, 2007
More User Ratings:
Rated: 4.33 by BeardedWalrus from North Carolina

Friday at 10:40 PM
Rated: 4.49 by Supper1

Jan 30, 2024
Rated: 4 by GoHabsGo from Canada (ON)

Jan 07, 2024
Rated: 5 by doctorgary from New York

Jan 02, 2024
Rated: 3.39 by heerboth from Pennsylvania

Dec 31, 2023
Photo of GuyFawkes
Reviewed by GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
I had this on draft 12/21/23 @ the Hopleaf.

Opaque brown/black appearance.

Big dark tan head; a thick curtain of tree-rung lacing remained.

Spruce, cream & faint candle wax notes in the nose.

Creamy, medium-thick mouthfeel.

Cream & plum flavors; mild spruce notes on the finish. No booze heat present.

Balanced, tasty Christmas vibes. I'd have another!
Dec 28, 2023
Photo of thehyperduck
Reviewed by thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

4.36/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
330 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Sep 26 2025 and served barely chilled. Listed at an even 10%.

Pours a deep, clear chestnut brown colour with brilliant ruby-red hues visible when held to a light; the half-inch of frothy, soapy, light tan-coloured head situated atop lasts for two minutes or so. A tight collar and patchy film stay upon the surface, with scant flecks of lace distributed across the glass - looks normal for a Belgian dark ale. Spicy aromas of anise/black licorice, clove and sarsaparilla, paired with hints of molasses, caramelized sugars, raisin & plum, as well as just a hint of nutmeg. The alcohol is noticeable, but combines very well with the other components.

Rich, malt-forward and spicy flavour profile, with black licorice/anise displayed prominently right from the get-go. Brown sugar, toffee, rum-drenched fruitcake, plum pudding and dates also come to mind, with clove, treacle & nutmeg. Anise remains strong into the finish, accompanied by dark fruit, brandy and syrupy boozy-sweetness that lasts on into a spicy aftertaste with lingering dark fruit/fruitcake flavours. Full bodied, with assertive carbonation that prickles the palate with each sip, adding a lively mouthfeel to this brew's smooth, fulfilling mouthfeel.

Final Grade: 4.36, a genuine A grade. Gouden Carolus Noël is a fabulous Belgian strong ale - I would love to make this session an annual Christmas tradition, but I suppose that's contingent upon its continued availability in this area. I suspect this bottle would be fine to drink five-plus years from now, but I don't think it's a strong cellaring candidate: its spicy, licorice-laden flavour profile is already outstanding in this (fresh, non-cellared) sample, and so I fear that its aroma/flavour would only deteriorate if stored. If you can't stand anise and/or black licorice then this may not be your cup of tea, but I'd still recommend Noël to anyone who has ever enjoyed a Belgian dark ale. Merry Christmas BA!
Dec 26, 2023
Rated: 4.1 by smithj4 from New York

Dec 26, 2023
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
Reviewed by HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

4.41/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Reddish brown appearance .
Medium light carbonation with an above average body.
Aroma is dark fruits,malt, spice,a little citrus peel.
Taste has a mild sweetness,mild mixed dark fruit,spice,malty.
Dec 25, 2023
Photo of jmdrpi
Reviewed by jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
330 ml bottled, dated best by 7/26/2025

Pours a very dark brown, ruby colored highlights when held up to the light. Cream colored head, great head retention. Nice rich dark malt flavors, mildly spiced. Drier finish. Smooth mouthfeel.
Dec 25, 2023
Rated: 4 by brureview from Massachusetts

Dec 22, 2023
Rated: 3.79 by MutuelsMark from Kentucky

Dec 17, 2023
Rated: 4.66 by YuckQi

Dec 17, 2023
Photo of mwilbur
Reviewed by mwilbur from Minnesota

4.29/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Poured from 750 mL bottle into a snifter.
A: Pours a golden brown hue with generous 3+ inch thick tan foam with excellent retention.
S: Fruit Belgian yeast, holiday spice, golden raisin, orange, berries, brown sugar, and licorice.
T: Orange peel, brown sugar, holiday spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, etc), subtle licorice, candied fruit, cocoa, and toasted malt.
M: Light medium body. Soft and creamy feel with slight effervescence. Nicely balanced fruit sweetness and holiday spice.
D: A lovely holiday brew that packs a lot of complexity into it but avoids being too heavy or overbearing.
Dec 12, 2023
Rated: 4.74 by Beecham from California

Nov 16, 2023
Rated: 4.24 by Jakepitbull from New York

Nov 07, 2023
Photo of MikeWard
Reviewed by MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
750ml bottle into a chalice. 2021 release.

Looks decent enough. Chestnut brown body, small but persistent cream colored head, nice sheet of lacing. Aroma is mostly of licorice with a few mixed spices. Taste follows the nose, but it's incredibly smooth and pleasing. A little clove mixes in. Finish is lightly warming, but seems less than the abv listed. Very good beer.
Oct 10, 2023
Photo of Brutaltruth
Reviewed by Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
From the big bottle in a snifter. This excellent brew pours a dark and
muddled red tinged brown with a nice head of khaki foam that settles to
a thick ring, thick clumping layer, and sports some nice lacing. Nose of
candy sugars, cinnamon, orange peel, clove, and dark sweet breaded malts
with touches of dates and figs. Flavors hit their mark with cinnamon, ginger,
nutmeg, clove, orange peel, touches of coriander, and a healthy dose of
dark candy sugar over top dark raisin / date bread. Mouthfeel is medium,
smooth, warming booze, medium light soft carbonation, and a sweet
spiced finish.

Overall---not much to say other than WOW. Love this brewery!

Mar 20, 2023
Rated: 3.83 by rpmello81 from California

Mar 18, 2023
Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 974 ratings