Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
89
very good
484 Reviews
THE BROS
67
poor
Read the review
Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium
hetanker.be

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gusler on 11-24-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
484
Ratings:
838
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.1%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
98
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 484 | Ratings: 838
Photo of babaracas
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep ruby-tinted brown with two fingers of creamy light brown colored foam, sheet of thin lace down half the glass. Smell: anise, caramelized banana, dark brown sugar, mint, nutmeg-realm spice, some hawaiian roll breadiness lurks behind all that. Taste: the anise hits early and often. Otherwise you've got a brown sugar and orange motif with black pepper, dates, pear. Medium-plus bodied, creamy feel, sticky and spice filled finish. It drinks like a 10.5% dessert christmas beer. Less anise would be much preferred. 21/07/2015 bottling.

 552 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked & caged bottle 2008 version. I shared this one with some friends as I thought it would be a chore to kill the whole bottle. Into a snifter.

A-Gouden Carolus Noel pours out a semi thick looking syrup. It has a dark brown to mahogany/copper like color. A very weak head tries it's best to even reach 1/2 of an inch in height but it doesent have the legs to achieve it. Maybe a bad bottle?

S- A whole lot of dark fruits including those in the citrus category. Ripe banana % spicy yeast. Some figs, dates and a lot of prunes in the nose. As it warms some candy like gum comes up as well as spices.

T- Follows the smell with the prunes overshadowing the banana. Some raisins and caramel with a pinch of chocolate. Nutmeg and cinnamon and toasted malts. A lot of sweet sugars with some cherry & licorice in the finish.

M- Light to medium bodied with some carb make this one an easy drinker. This is a little flat at times and could be more lively. A bit of alcohol in the mouth plus some warming effects.

D- At 10.5% this one's a sipper for sure and i'm glad i shared the bottle as I probably would not have finished this alone. Not the best BSDA but worth a shot. The balance of the flavors could improve.

 1,219 characters

Photo of cjgiant
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 7/2013:
Pours dark brown, but with an obvious clarity when viewing the edges. Head is tan and builds up decently. Sustainability if head is great, and lacing is significant. Nose is toffee, some root beer, some other spices are obvious with a bit of heat, but also maybe a bit of diacetyl.

Taste is dark bread, sweet root flavors, rhubarb, some dark cherry, and perhaps some ginger and cinnamon. Later in the taste, the root beer flavor "evolves" into a mild peppermint flavor (might be imagining this), however I think this came across as alcohol burn when cold. Feel is around medium in body and smoothness; carbonation is a tad light considering head.

The "peppermint" flavor threw me a bit. This beer is a tad confusing, it has some good things going for it, but also some iffy notes.

 809 characters

Photo of jeremy13586
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bottle from this past Christmas that I found tucked away.

The color was a very deep amber, with ruby around the edges. The head was a shade light of khaki and it disappear rather quickly.

I didn't get too much in the nose other than spice and alcohol. Some faint dark fruits.

Spicy and herbal. Some mint and booze. A bit of a sweet backbone. A bit muddy. Finishes with the slightest hint of chocolate.

Pretty smooth overall. Medium bodied.

I've had this in years past, but found it pretty unexciting this time around. I've only had it on draft before and found it to be more enjoyable in that format (or at least from what I can remember). I'll have to buy and drink a fresh bottle next winter and see how it compares.

 727 characters

Photo of TMB0424
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap @ blind tiger ale house.

Poured a dark ruby body with a slight off white head. Disappeared very quickly into a small cap, leaving very light lacing along the tulip.

Aroma is extremely sweet and nice smelling. Sugary caramel, molasses, gingerbread, and tons of cinnamon. Honey-coated plums lurk in the background. Extremely nice smelling - the cinnamon is very pleasing.

It tastes pretty much how it smells - although sweeter, which is not a good thing. The cinnamon aroma takes somewhat of a backseat to the honey coated dark fruit and molasses, and it's just too sweet. It's nice to sip on (it went well with my lunch there) but it just got old halfway through the glass because of its intense sweetness.

Mouthfeel is decent, as it has somewhat of a soda-like feel to it. Very odd. It's full bodied with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. This is not a poor brew by any means, as it definitely has one of the more unique and pleasing aromas I've encountered recently. It's just not my thing, way too sweet. The mouthfeel is kind of "off" as well.

 1,053 characters

Photo of Travlr
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 1 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown color with a thick white long lasting head. Chocolate and roasted coffee aroma. Very strong alcohol taste throughout. Some notes of semi-sweet chocolate and malt with used coffee grounds. Slightly bitter finish. Average all the way.

 251 characters

Photo of RickS95
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep creamy brown, slightly purple hues mixed in. Very thick. The head is slow forming with small brown bubbles and good retention.

Lots of spices fill the nose, along with a healthy dose of malt and plenty of dark, ripe fruits. The high ABV also comes through giving it a port-like scent.

It's malty, very wine-like and even tastes 'thick.' Lacing is really good. Alcohol in the finish.

It's a bit on the sweet side. Can't say it enough, it's thick. It really coats your tongue. A bit of heat from the alcohol in the finish. Despite the sweetness and stickiness, it's slightly dry with an earthy finish.

It's not a bad beer and it's something I could drink a couple of an not be disappointed, but there are some rough edges to prevent it from being a really good beer.

 782 characters

Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 12/23/2010:

#9 - 12 beers of Christmas. 750 mL bottle at 42* into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: This pours a very dark brown color with amber hues and a thick, two-finger head of heavily carbonated white foam.

S: The nose shows aromas of bananas, booze-soaked dark fruits, and spicy earthiness. I wish there was more to it.

T: The taste is of plums, ripe red grapes, bananas, brandy, and a spicy yeast character.

M: The body is medium with average carbonation and a sticky and somewhat hot finish.

D: This is a bit boozier than I'd prefer and it wasn't very complex.

 581 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best by date of 8/21/2010
750ml bottle, caged and corked

Pours a dark amber/ruby color with plenty of head, great retention, lots of patchy lacing.

Smell has a mild yeasty quality, mainly malt and brown sugar, sweet yet not overly aromatic, slight banana presence.

Taste is way too sweet, syrupy and sugary for its own good, nice buttery slickness though, heavy malt presence that dominates any subtle spices, some dark fruit lingers around but is also pushed to the back.

 475 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff.

The beer appears dark chestnut brown with a formidable khaki head. Ample lacing and lasting head retention. The aroma offers malt, sweet spice, brown sugar, dark fruit, alcohol. Sweet breads, dark fruit, spices, malt, brown sugar, and Christmas cookies in the flavor. Quite sweet throughout - I am glad to be splitting this bottle. Licorice, candies, decadent holiday sweets, fruitcake. Complex and well done, though a bit cloying for my taste. The feel is thin to medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Overall, a bit too sweet, though well done and enjoyable. Best in small quantities.

 631 characters

Photo of meatmallet
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown in color with a thick foamy tan head. Head is creamy looking and lasts forver.

Smell: Smell is full of dark malts, orance peel, spices, and vanilla.

Taste: Taste has the sxpected spice flavors with a little hint of pepper. The alcohol mixes nicely with carmel malt and toffee. A little bitter on the finish.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Full body and medium carbonation make it easy to drink. The after taste is not as good as should be expected.

 467 characters

Photo of StJamesGate
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours emerald with a loose tawny fast-fading head that leaves only trailers of lace. Nose is strawberries and clove with some bubblegum and caramel - mouthwatering! Light chocolate and all spice up front, Belgian yeast is there, an ester pop, and tutti frutti to finish. A tight ginger beer linger. Chewy and fizzy with plenty of burn.

Some interesting flavors but too hot and estery to be very drinkable.

 407 characters

Photo of devilishprune
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gouden Carolus Noel 12/11/10

A. Dark brown with red highlights when held up to a light. No head retention

S. Mainly licorice, with the alcohol scent hidden very well.

T. Taste follows the nose, but this beer tastes strangely like an undercarbonated Coke. Alcohol is still hidden very well. Very sweet at the beginning.

M. Light body, but very high carbonation.

D. The high alcohol will sneak up on you in this one, I would say that it's pretty drinkable.

 459 characters

Photo of Adamthome1
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1pt 9.4 oz bottle; corked bottle opens with similar pressure to champagne, pours a very nice 3 fingered head (and that was with a slow pour, don't pour this one too fast!). label: 9/16/2010, batch 1076

Darker than expected; almost black, but I can see some light through my glass, head retention is great and the head is one of the thicket heads you will find.

Smells earthy, sweet - like granny smith apples, grassy, very typical Belgian style smell

Black liquorish hits right away, it's a roasty, dark flavor, root beer, some stout caramel dark hints, and surprisingly the 10.5% alcohol is very prevalent, I was expecting it to be masked well. Aftertaste is very warm, great winter ale, I am having mine late this year. There is a metallic character that's different, maybe undesirable to some but I am used to it from some of the eastern European beers I prefer.

Body is very creamy and rich. If black liquorish wasn't so dominant I would really like this beer. Slightly above average though, not bad for the $3 discount bin at my local Hy-Vee Spirit shot...This is one to share with a friend, you're basically drinking 3.5 normal beers given the bottle size and alcohol content.

 1,186 characters

Photo of dqrull
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Kinda boring looks on this one, little to no head, minimal lacing on the glass, a dark hue of red/brown that is quite appealing though.

Damn! This smells really nice of star anise, liqourice is abundant, but it really seems to be well fitted into the brew, I get some sweet notes of malt and some other spices as well, but the liqourice is slightly overpowering.

A bit on the boozy side, and the sweetness doesnt really match it. A great deal of liqourice in on the palate as well, really lots, almost a bit too intense, some other spices that are hard to place, maybe ginger? Anyway, the liqourice is well integrated into this brew, if they just had kept it a little bit more mellow, as it is now it is a bit too overpowering.

Feels a little too boozy in the mouth, and it has a fairly weak carbonation not the creamy muouthfeel I usually delight in with this kind of belgian brew usually.

Still a very interesting beer! Love how they have gotten such an intense liqourice-attack without it just mashing the rest of the brew to shit, try it if you can, special!

 1,066 characters

Photo of mntlover
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice brown, ruby red when held to the light, sports a nice khaki head that leaves some good lace down my tulip.

Aroma is sweet candy sugars on top of malt, molasses decent dose of liquorice. Underneath the sweet and malt some dark fruits and light spice show thru.

Taste is malt, candy sugars, good dose of liquorice with dates and plums peaking out. Little too much liquorice for my tastes. Leaves a lingering Christmas spices and hints of herbal hops

Mouthfeel is good nice medium with a decent but mellow carbonation through out the experience.

Drinkability is ok just a little to much liquorice for my tastes but if thats not a problem for you probably, you will enjoy this one a bunch.

 702 characters

Photo of kimcgolf
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Typical Christmas beer, that was super thick with very dominant alcohol. Poured a dark brown with thin head that lingered awhile and left okay lacing. For me, there were only two dominant features throughout this beer....black licorice and alcohol. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of black licorice, and so whatever else was in this beer was lost to me, as I just kept getting sidetracked by this taste.

IDefinitely a winter warmer at 10.5% abv, just not my favorite.

 466 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark, murky amber brown brew, poured into a Gouden Carolus chalice. Tightly beaded off white head and leaves a bit of lace.

Smell: Some hops, licorice, Christmas spices. All are quite apparent in a fairly strong aroma.

Taste: Decidedly malty, with some brown sugar, date and fig tones. Aniseed like spice. Black licorice is also a dominant flavor coupled with the spices.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, also has a lingering spicy finish and the flavors stick with you.

Drinkability: A warming winter offering from Gouden Carolus. The black licorice is a love it or hate it thing, and is the main flavor in the beer. Would go nice with some gingerbread cookies.

 671 characters

Photo of hackmann
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Brown body with a light tan head

Aroma: black licorice, sweet fancy raisin, coffee,

Flavors: the black licorice stands out to me … reminds me of Smith Brothers Licorice Cough Drops, then the coffee hits the palate and then hints of sweet fancy raisin, fig, and a touch of chocolate. I do not notice the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: low carbonation, very light bitter note hits the mid palate if you are paying attention, black licorice and a light roasted coffee with milk lingers on the aftertaste. Body weight seems to be medium-full. That 10.5% abv does not even seem to be a factor so, watch out.

Overall: at first I did not like this and then when I started to think about what I was smelling and tasting then, I started to like this ale. After all I love a good stick of black licorice but, this strong of licorice in beer ...

 844 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottled August 6th 2015.

It pours a clear chestnut with a small off white head of foam.

The smell I noticed as soon as I removed the cork. Anise in abundance. It's hard to get past that. Some sweet candi sugar notes. .

Anise, candi sugar, quite sweet this is. Okay, now that palate familiarity has set in, I can taste some dark pitted fruit goodness. Plum and raisin. Despite the temporary reprieve from the anise, I reckon that this Noel is too 1 dimensional for the style.

High end of medium bodied, lively carbonated, more than a little boozy, this doesn't bring out any Christmas cheer for me. Super glad that I got a chance to try it.

 645 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark mahogany color with a small dirty cap

S: Black liquorice comes off with some hints at spice, fruits

T: Blacl liquorice is dominant, not over the top but the dominant flavor. Some carame, spice, dark and medium fruits

M: Nice and subtle, not to sweet, no carbonation issues

D: Average. Interesting

 317 characters

Photo of BierReise
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

75cl Corked bottle No date. Poured a hazy deep amber color with a thin tan head which settled to a thin film. Aroma has a sugary sweetness to it, some bready malt and fruit overtones. Alcohol shows up as it warms. Has a medium body that is smooth with a crispy finish. Flavor is sweet with malt almost barley style. Some fruit and a bit of spiciness also detectable. Overall not a bad seasonal.

 394 characters

Photo of rand
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From bottle to wine glass

Aged for 1 year

A: Pours out a dark brown, completely opaque, forming a big fluffy head. Amazing retention - as it very slowly recedes, the brew leaves a wall of sticky lacing.

S: The nose is ripe fruits and freshly baked sweetbread. Big tropical tones accent the fruity profile...mango, papaya, banana. Alcohol volatiles and carbonation stream the yeasty brew - powerful aroma.

T: The fruity esters dominate the front of the sip and the tropical tones of the nose are immediately noticed. Figs, raisins, and a raspberry/strawberry candy tinge join in. The alcohol warms but doesn't bite - surprisingly subdued for it's style and ABV. Although there are the many described layers of flavor, there's little to balance the sweet, fruity onslaught, and the sugary sweetness can be a bit much. Finishes sweet and sticky.

M: Rich, creamy, frothy. Carbonation is light, and the full-bodied complexion leaves a trail of residue with each swallow.

D: Definitely meant to be sipped. This brew is far from boring, but it's not delicious: there are a lot of sweet fruity layers to be pondered and observed, but the flavor profile is disjointed. It might take me awhile to drink through this.

Notes: The brew has a lot of interesting characteristics and an expansive flavor profile. And I love Het Anker. But ultimately there's just too much going on and the multitude of tastes almost confuse your palate. Although I like beers with unique and complicated profiles, I like the flavors to blend into a sort of singularity. This brew's flavors, although interesting and distinct, are conflicting and awkward.

 1,628 characters

Photo of paterlodie
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BB16-10-06. Good brown head and nice darkbrown almost black beercollor. Nose is very esterfruity making it into a bubblegum and bananamix. Some darkmalt arome comming trough aswell as some candy and high alcohol content obvious. Taste is sweet and alcoholic with good roastnote that goes well with the alcohol and bitterness aswell as a good nutty arome. Highly carbonated with it making taste even more bombastic but IMO very unbalanced to the sweet and alcoholic side. Certainly something else and drinkable but to me one glass is enough.

 540 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark chestnut brown body topped with a quarter inch off creamy, off-white head. Very thick, very coating lacing as it goes.

Smell: Earthy, spicy, malty nose with notes of anise, prune, black currants and, wait, is that Jäger I'm smelling?

Taste: Sweet caramel, spiced molasses, black licorice, and candied fruits blended with a full shot, no, make that two shots of Jägermeister. The heavy malts, fruits, and bitter herbal liqueur all vie for dominance. Who's the winner? Well, I'll just say you get a bit more Jäger on the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Grr, when I get my hands on whoever dropped a shot of Jägermeister in my Gouden Carolus Noël, I'll take my shoe to them!

 771 characters

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.98 out of 5 based on 838 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe