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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker

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

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Reviews: 479 | Ratings: 829
Photo of Trizzle
1.68/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours lively - a shaken coke, and like a shaken coke it's big sparse head fades in seconds. Body is a not unpleasant red brown but hazy even at room temp.

Aroma is big and there is plenty going on.. Candy sugar, acetone, cherrys, stale port, orange rind, alcohol and some Belgian yeast. A motley and jarring combination.

Taste? Fuck. Well, nail polish remover and cherry sherbet dominate. Cheap white rum, more stale port , some cola and toffee syrup' Very cloying. I know I've mentioned white rum but the alcohol is actually reasonably well hidden. (behind cherry sherbet and acetone)

Medium light in the malt, low carbonation.

Obviously not my sort of drop and very undrinkable for mine.

This was supposed to be my after work Friday treat. I'm tipping it and switching to my Bunnahabhain single cask. So there.

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Photo of IronCitySteve
1.89/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Had on tap at Fatheads Pittsburgh.

A: Pours a dark brown color that does not let in any light. Provides a thick foam head with nice retention and some nice lacing.

S: Alcohol, dark fruit, sugared candy and lots of anise.

T: A lot of alcohol up front with some dark fruit. Has a cough syrup type taste with too much alcohol dominating. As this warms, the malt character comes out a tad more, but the alcohol still dominates.

M: Leaves a biting alcohol taste on the palate.

D: Not really a brew for me, high on alcohol taste.

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Photo of teromous
1.94/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dated 23/09/09 on bottle. 1PT 9.4FL.oz in a corked bottle.

A: Pours a medium brown color into what becomes a very dark brown and nearly black glassful. It has a substantial cola-tan head. The lacing consists of very large bubbles and the head stands up pretty well.

S: It smells sweet and slightly fruity (prune-like), with some of the malt coming through. It has a hint of licorice smell. I can smell the alcohol, and there is a hint of metal. The scent isn't all that pleasant because the alcohol and metallic scents mask most of the complexity.

T: It has a strong flavor to it, almost like a barleywine. It tastes a little off compared to similar style beers...it could just be the age or a difference in brewing methods. It's authentically Belgian but it doesn't taste quite right. It's a little sour and I can taste the hops but it's not bitter. I don't get any "Belgian Yeast" character at all. It's very roasty.

M: The mouthful is a little raw. It bites back with an unpleasantness which makes it hard to drink. On a positive note it is a large bold beer that says "I'm here".

D: I can't drink more than a bottle of it. It has a very high alcohol content, and when drinking it you can taste it. The roasted flavor amplifies the alcohol flavor somehow and just makes it hard to stomach. It's not blended together well. I would not drink this again.

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Photo of largadeer
2.12/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Draft at The Trappist. Dark amber-brown with fair clarity and a sticky off-white head. Smells strongly medicinal; herbal with black licorice, cough syrup, menthol, caramelized malt and solvent. Palate is similar, huge kick of anise and mint, strong on the herbal/medicinal flavors. Alcohol is less noticeable on the tongue. Finishes with semi-sweet dark candi sugar and an herbal astringency that reminds me of bitters. Not particularly enjoyable.

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Photo of bkilpatr
2.18/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a Chimay glass. 11/23/08.

Pours a deep brown color with hints of ruby around the edges. About a finger of light tan head that slowly dropped to a thin layer. Aroma is very yeasty and fruity with toffee, cherry, caramel, sweet malt, and a heavy dose of alcohol.

Taste starts with a bunch of sweet malt and darker fruits. Lots of cherry and toffee and a sweet biscuit taste. Plenty of peppery spice. There's a bit of fusel alcohol taste as well.

Feel is medium-full bodied with ample carbonation. There's a bunch of warming from the alcohol. Drinkability is not that great. Between the alcohol taste and the heat, it's not that easy to drink.

Overall, kind of a mess. Too much alcohol in the taste and feel makes for an unpleasant experience. A lower alcohol content could have made for a much better beer.

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Photo of DuffDaddy
2.25/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Had a couple of slugs from a bomber in Uncle Ronnie's garage. A lot of flavor in this, but it had a real boozy feel. I wouldn't want to drink more that a little of this at one time.

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Photo of Minkybut
2.29/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I poured this gross beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. It was a nice mahoganny color with a pretty tan head that was teaming with tiny fine bubbles and looking great. Then I smelled, whew, sour apples or vineger. Then I tasted and again sour yuk to me. Some like the sour brews but since tis is my review I say YUK ! I will not buy again/

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Photo of dragonWhale
2.33/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The most intriguing thing on tap at Washington Commons in BKny. Well, the 2nd most, but that wasn't on tap anymore.

Brown and murky. Mysterious and dangerous. Smell of spices, malt and anise.
I sip, anise. I gulp, anise. Everything I taste, anise. Bullshit, anise. Unbalanced, overspiced, kinda gross. This will be my last affair with this beer. I'm actually exceptionally puzzled that this was deemed a worthy affair by these brewers whom I consider to have mastered the art of not deluding me into thinking their beer is good. Unfortunately, this will make me think twice of ordering any of their beers in the future.

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Photo of Flup
2.48/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

For the first time I am dissapointed witha beer from Het Anker

A. Red/brouwn colour; almost no foam, no retention

S. Spicy dominated by Liquorice

T. Too much of lis liquorice with a bit of fruits (orange?)

M. Persitant liquorice taste

D. I probably expected too much? but is is not a bee I will recommand, tomorrow I will have a hopsinjoor in order to go on with a positive image of Het Anker

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.49/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

Brouwerij Het Anker is supposedly one of the oldest working breweries in Belgium, dating back to the 1300s. Back in 2002, they started brewing Gouden Carlolus Noël after a 38-year hiatus. This dark Winter Ale is brewed with three different hops and six different herbs and spices.

Creamy-looking small-bubbled lace retains well, and the dark brown color displays a glowing clarity. Heavy aroma of dark malts, black pepper, bitter orange peel, earth, faint vanilla, black currants, lavender, a hint of fusel alcohol and other vague spice tones. Smooth and creamy mouth feel off of a full body. Beefy, with a juicy caramel malt splash up front. An alcoholic bite thrashes the taste buds. Spicy, with suggestions of white pepper. The fruity, alcoholic esters drop a tropical bomb. Kiwi, pineapple and papaya come to mind. This has hot fermentation written all over it. Unfortunately, the fi nish and aftertaste is dominated by this hard, lingering alcohol character, and it does not get better as the beer warms up. A mess.

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Photo of Hopswagger
2.53/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

P: Dense mahogany body with bright ruby highlighted edges. Minimal silky khaki head that dissipates to a cola like roof. Beautiful lacing that climbs the glass.

S: Licorice bomb! Notes of candied malt, oak, caramel apples, pepper and a pinch of cayenne.

T/M: Taste follows the nose but more aggressive spices and spiced rum soaked figs. Full sticky body with spicy numbing carbonation. Finish is dry with lingering smoke, aggressive booze, apple peels and pepper.

O: I was let down with this one. The licorice was way too powerful and the customary flavors were faint and hidden. Once it warms it become much easier to drink but is still far from great. A hot mess of a BSDA that is not one to hunt down.

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Photo of PatrickCT
2.7/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a tulip.

a: A vibrant dark Ruby body with a 2 finger creamy beige head. The head dissipated rather quickly, as did the carbonation. Settles into a very calm beer with moderate lacing.

s: The brewery site boasts the use of six kinds of spices and 3 different hops. I know that one of the spices is anise. Whatever is under the licorice aroma is beyond my noses capabilities. Maybe a little caramel and nuttiness. Slight unidentifiable pepper and spice from the yeast maybe.

t: Sweet malts. Candi sugar. Then menthol and anise dominates the taste. Slight hint of plums, apricot and golden currents. Lingering burn from the alcohol or the anise-menthol onslaught. Or both.

mf: Starts off smooth and creamy then it kind of derails. Minimal carbonation and it runs hot with the alcohol that seems to take over the whole beer.

o: This beer has a lot of good reviews so this may be my personal tastes but I don't like it. It is almost unpleasant. The alcohol is the dominate force right after the anise and has a lingering but non warming aftertaste. I like the label though. I may take it off and tape it over a bottle Trois Pistoles and make that my Christmas beer.

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Photo of wmtxbb
2.74/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance: Hazy dark brew with a finger sized head on top.

Scent: Pears, dates, cinnamon, pepper and a little alcohol.

Taste: Liqourish, an assortment of fruits, molasses, maple syrup, toffee, sweet malts, peppermint, and alcohol. Finish is dry. Flavors don't seem to mix well.

Drinkability: Incredibly complex. Not something to drink on a whim. By the time I got to the end of the bottle I poured the rest of this beer out. It's a shame; I really can't put my finger on what's wrong with this beer.

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Photo of dino213aa
2.74/5  rDev -31%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This syrupy sweet dark ale just leaves me a bit flat. Originally poured with a one inch head that quickly dissipated never to be seen again, no matter how vigorously I re-pour. The Bros did much better at spotting individual flavors although the cumulative taste and mouthfeel resembles cough syrup... maybe an essence of NyQuil.. lol

Pretty weak offering from an otherwise strong brewery.

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Photo of akokandy
2.76/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle caged and corked poured into my Corsendonk tulip.

A- Dark, dark red with 2+ inches of head. After a few sips, the head died down and left some cool lacing patterns. A cool-looking beer in the glass.

S- Smells like white wine with some red fruit aromas.

T- Alcohol is definitely detectable. Red fruit flavors, especially grape, predominate. There is a wine dryness to the finish and a strong yeast note. The overall flavor is tart, yet also sweet. In-your-face flavor, but too much alcohol/wine flavor for me to really enjoy.

M- A lot of carbonation and a medium-full body.

D- I had a hard time finishing the first glass. The flavor is too tart, too sweet, too much. I feel it was overdone and it was hard to get through the bottle.

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Photo of voteforgoat
2.82/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

From Winter 2009, drank May 2010

A - thick tan foam, almost black beer, with ruby highlights in the light

B - smells sweet, and slightly like bread dough, can smell the alcohol. Gf says it smells like Rodenbach, which totally surprised me, but decided there's some truth to that. We both agree it tastes nothing like it of course.

T - sweet taste, can taste the alcohol, malty, spice and gingerbread flavor

M- medium thickness, coats the tongue, lightly carbonated once the foam settles.

D-not as drinkable as other Gouden Carolus I've had ( a little cloying) but I'm still enjoying it. Have a bottle in the cellar. We'll see how it ages.

addendum - by the end of the bottle, I was not enjoying it much at all. Quite cloying, a little bit like cough sirup or herbal.
Really lingering taste still hours later. Unpleasant.

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Photo of kajerm
2.85/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Map Room a few days ago.

Pours ruby red and cloudy as hell with a billowy off-white head that sits just above the rim of the glass.

The aroma is full of heavy, malty sweetness with some figs and a weird note of anise that I can't remember ever smelling or tasting in a beer. Some other spices-- clove and cinnamon, mainly-- are present, as are alcohol and fruity esters.

Tastes like it smells, but much, much sweeter. This is just too cloying for me (and I like some sickeningly sweet maltbombs), and it's especially weird with the black licorice flavor, which would be interesting and refreshing in another beer.

The mouthfeel is syrupy and somewhat chewy.

Not much in the way of drinkability.

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Photo of Naerhu
2.87/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750 ml bottle.
Appearance: Beautiful dark evil looking amber, with a brownish head and great lacing.
Aroma: Massive anise, ginger, minty hoppiness and brown sugar.
Taste: Hot alcohol not balanced with the malt. Sweet, bitter, and sour, and again no balance. Cloves, nutmeg and rough cinnamon.
I should have followed Venom's advice and spread my drinking of this over three hours, but I entirely lost interest. I was thinking it would have likely improved with exposure to air, but with all the other beers at the tasting, why bother?
Mouthfeel: A tad hot and and at the same time creamy.
Drinkability: Anything this unbalanced, and/or requiring three hours to grow on you in order to appreciate it is not drinkable to me.

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Photo of Whiteturtle
2.92/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

*Disclosure* I had this beer 3 years ago and remember not liking it due to the overbearing licorice aroma and taste. I have not had it since, but I am going into with optimism.

Eyes: Poured into a corsendonk christmas chalice. A moderate 1 inch head that is dissapating quickly. To my recollection the smallest head from a any belgian beer I have ever poured (good belgian beer). Pours a muddy brown/ruby hue. A lovely misting of head and bigger bubbles surround the rooftop.

Nostrils: Anise, clove, and yeah... licorice :( I don't think its as pungent as I remember from 2 years ago, but its definitely there. I also get a big chunk of chocolate on the nose too. Cinnamon, mint, and cherries close it out.

Tongue: Anise and cinnamon right from the start. Very sugary- more so than your typical BSDA, even winter seasonals. The licorice flavor seems to be a bit tamer than what I experienced 2 years ago, but it is still prevalent. When you let it sit in your mouth for a few seconds and then swallow it tastes like a mint brownie. The 10% is masked very well.

Body: Thick and creamy. Typical belgian beer carbonation tickles the inner cheeks. Its hard to discern the beer mouthfeel with the foam that forms. A strong anise and chocolate hang follow.

Overall: I shouldn't, but I have to compare it somewhat to my 2013 beer. Its not as boozy and as licoricey as I remember, so thats good. But while those flavors seemed to have been pulled back, no other flavors really seemed up to the job. Its still an anise/minty/cinnamon bomb. Its a good beer, but the flavor profile just doesn't match my interests. If we were dating profiles on a website, I would have to swipe left even though I know a lot of people are swiping right. I think there are plenty of other winter seasonals (foreign and domestic) that I would much rather have.

Hoppy Holidays

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Photo of Monkeefartz
2.99/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One thing to note about this beer is the anise favor initially presented more like mint. It was strange, but let it warm a bit and the flavors of Annie and dried fruits come out. It is an interesting beer, but not one I would have again.

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Photo of ChillMike
3.02/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up on sale at BevMo, they were trying to get rid of some of their holiday brews so I couldn't resist.

A: Very opaque mulberry red color that has a nice medium sized tan head that recedes quite quickly but leaves a nice bit of lacing around the glass.

S: Scents of cloves, bananas, brown sugar and almost a wine-ish alcohol smell. Almost reminds me of Glühwein you'd have during Christmas time at a German outdoor market.

T: Very sweet taste, overly sweet, wow like tons of sugar sweet. A bit of some spice, but I can't seem to get passed the sweetness of it, it's like drinking bubblegum juice that has been saturated with more sugar. Then again it does have an oddly sour type taste as well. Sweet and sour should be reserved for chicken not Belgians.

D: Nothing too drinkable to me about this beer, it's a bit pricey, the taste is just a bit too off for me and the alcohol a bit much.

MF:Kind of a thin body but pretty good for the style.

Overall I just didn't really care for this one too much, it's a shame I was really looking forward this one as I usually really enjoy winter Belgians.

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Photo of dgallina
3.03/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml corked and caged brown bottle. No date on cork or bottle.

Pours almost clear red-tinged chestnut. Little head and thin lace, but relatively good carbonation for a strong aged ale. Pretty strong smelling. Lots of alcoholic grape bubble gum, banana, black pepper in the nose. Bitter-sweet tasting. Heavy bubble gum stickiness vies uneasily against spiced medicinal alcohol notes. Some toasted malt shows through in the finish, but not enough to offset the tenacious bubble gum. Body is heavy and limp; sticky and not very exciting. I don't particularly enjoy the other Gouden Carolus beers, and this one is in the same mould.

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Photo of KonigObHops
3.03/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours from the bottle as what I would call a cola color with a beige head that was about one finger width thick.

The aroma is anise with some fruity notes. It was pretty strong and sweet, but almost buttery at the same time.

The initial taste was slightly sweet, but the alcohol in this beer is present right off of the bat. In the middle, the beer has some slight fruitiness, but it finishes rather flat.

I would describe the mouthfeel as somewhat biting. The alcohol hits the tongue, and then it finishes dry.

I was disappointed because I bought a four pack of this beer on the recommendation of a guy at the beer store who was raving about it. I have about 20 beers that I will suggest to him if I ever see him again. It was OK overall, but I would not purchase this Christmas ale over other varieties like Corsendonk, Ommegang, or St. Bernardus.

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Photo of Eddxii
3.05/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled in September 2010, this particular bottle of Gouden Carolus Noël has definitely had some time to ferment further in the bottle. The result is enhanced sweetness and an unfortunate muddling of its several spicy and fruity flavors into a solid, if uninteresting, dark strong ale. It pours a cloudy dark amber with a medium head that dissipates immediately. A healthy off-white lacing around the surface carries on from start to finish.

It begins with a medium body, but as it finishes the syrupy side comes though to add thickness. The aroma is soft and sweet, but overly underwhelming. I will say that for a 10%ABV, you can hardly taste the alcohol elements behind the dark fruit. The Noël carries the spiciness you’d expect from a Christmas beer, but nothing too overpowering and nothing too “Christmas-y”. The sorts of spices that come out beneath the fruit notes are just as welcome in May as they are in front of the fire in winter. A subtle licorice pervades every taste, but it never goes fully into raw anise. Its muddy nature does a disservice to the various fruit flavors therein, with only a dark cherry really emerging from the more general dark fruit flavors.

Overall the Gouden Carolus Noël represents a decent Christmas beer. There are better and there are certainly worse. Though on tap this beer was not the best, the flavors that emerged from that serving far outweigh the cloudiness of tastes that take over after aging.

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Photo of CharlatanSin
3.05/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A 2008 version served on tap into a tulip at Amsterdam Ale House. Pricey, but hey, it's the holiday season, so why not?

Appearance: A nice dark reddish brown, with a big honkin' tan head that leaves big time lacing.

Smell: Picking up a good dose of yeasty white bread, and then the sweetness pounds you. Brown sugar and plum mostly for me.

Taste: Well...not so good. The sweetness is overpowering. It tastes like purple Robitussin. If I start tripping balls, I'll think the bartender switched it up on me. The "tussin" taste is a mix of plum and strong alcohol. Now, generally I don't mind a boozy beer, but this one's all out of balance.To be fair, it gets better as it gets warmer, as some nutmeg and other festive spices start to show their head.

Mouthfeel: The booze dominates the mouthfeel as well. I don't mind that all that much. Other than that, it's got a medium body and good carbonation.

Drinkability: The tussin quality kills this one for me.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.97 out of 5 based on 829 ratings.
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