Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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BA SCORE
89
very good
478 Reviews
THE BROS
67
poor
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Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium | website

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:
478
Ratings:
829
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
20.4%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
96
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 478 | Ratings: 829
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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Photo of craftbeersweden
3.06/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear, dark mahogny colored beer with a two finger high, offwhite head.

Nose: licorice, herbs, toth-paste! (I know it's crazy), peppermint, milk and ice-cream.
Taste: Licorice, salmiak, peppermint, honey, syrup, brown sugar and sugar, sugar, sugar.... This is SWEEET!
Body: Medium body with a light, crisp, carbonation. The sweetness is overwhelming. The ABV: 10.5% is well hidden.

WTF is this? I'm not shure if I like it or hate it... Not what I expected. Almoust like a big bottle of Jägermeister. Well I have to decide... For this money you can buy great beer - This is not great, it is strange... I don't want strange... So conclusion - Buy something else!

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Photo of bamadog
3.08/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Review is from notes taken on 10/9/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a dark cola brown and starts with a 2 finger fluffy tan head with decent retention; body is dark and murky, almost entirely opaque; thick fluffy strands and webs of lacing are left behind as the fair head slowly dwindles to a full and uneven frothy cap.

Smell: Smells like a TON of over-ripe, dark fruits, Belgian candi and spices; definite presence of alcohol. I'm a little nervous about the sweetness now as I'm feeling it's going to be cloying... Not awful and nice and robust, but damn, that sweetness...

Taste: Yep, overly sweet and ripe dark fruits and lots of them; lots of the Belgian candi and what would be a nice backing of caramel malts if they weren't totally owned by the fruits and near-cloying sweetness; definite booziness and presence of the Belgian spices (cardamom, cloves, etc.); bit of a mess and medicinal (not in a good kind of way, but like a syrupy sweet cough syrup or flu medicine) and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight with moderately strong carbonation that is not overpowering and very fitting for the style; a moderately thick and semi-dry coating is left behind and the belly is left feeling just a little bit warm from the ABV.

Drinkability: Meh -- not something that I'll be seeking out as it's too sweet and medicinal; the ABV would also prove to be a bit much as well; ultimately, if the sweetness is something you like, this may be your beer, but as for me, I like a bit more balance with the spices, and if it's going to be sweet, I like it to be more from the caramel maltiness as I feel it blends better and allows other aspects to come through.

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Photo of kwjd
3.13/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap at Burp Castle in New York City. Pours a dark brown colour with thin off-white head and nice lacing. Smells strongly of black licorice, with cinnamon and brown sugar. I cannot stress how strong the black licorice was, which was too much for me. Trying to keep an open mind since it isn't my favourite flavour, but it was too much. A little bit boozy as well. Big carbonation level. I could only get through about half of this and gave it to a friend. Though he did enjoy it.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.15/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown color; a little ruby on the edges. Poured a 2 finger tan head that dissipated to a bubbly skim. Patches of lace dotted the glass.

S: Caramel, candi sugar and spice. Plenty of alcohol.

T: Dark fruit and alcohol up front; a it like cough syrup. More malt character as the beer warmed. Dry and hot.

M: Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. Warming alcohol.

D: Between the sharp sweetness and the alcohol I didn't find it very drinkable.

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Photo of LennyV
3.16/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Growler purchased at halftime. Pours a dark mohagoney into my Leyerth Breweries glass. Small tan head with some nice lacing.

Smells of alcohol and malt.

Taste if full of ,at with some mouth warming alcohol. Finish is dry.

Mouth feels silky smooth, nicely carbonated.

Not my favorite. This brew is all malt. I prefer some more hops to balance the tastse. Abv is 10.5% so drink carefully

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Photo of 77ships
3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 Vintage, tried it Feb. 2011
From notes, [email protected]:

A: very dark brown, cannot see through it, white head that leaves plenty of lacing
S: dark fruits (including the typical Belgian raisins), sweet malt, toffee
T: like pure liquorice, liquorice taste dominated so strongly that it was almost as if I was drinking liquid liquorice, also toffee, dark fruits, sweet malt, brown sugar, it is sweet to top it off
M: on the heavier side, certainly not thick but somewhere in that direction, certainly up there for a Belgian beer, not a lot of carbonation to speak of
D: this is basically liquor liquorice to me, quirky once but could not even imagine drinking this ever once again but who knows

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Photo of IceTrey9785
3.2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 750ml bottle into an over-sized burgundy glass...

A: Really dark tawny color, with a nice tan head that lasts the whole beer. At least a finger of foam which was nice. You can tell by the appearance that the brew is creamy and rich.

S: Wow -- a lot of spices, maybe too many. I got tarragon, anise seed, white pepper, figs, different stone fruit, and maybe a hint of vanilla bean and ginger. It smells festive (as it should), but really intense. I was afraid this was going to be a really sweet beer. The alcohol definitely surfaces as well -- kinda prickly.

T&M: The first thing you notice is how rich and creamy the ale feels in your mouth. Brown sugar, baking spices, currants, and dark black fruit are predominant. There are a few hints of peppery spice, but the caramelized malt really covers up a lot of additional flavors. The finish is not that great -- way too much alcohol burn that overwhelms the dark fruit that should emerge.

In general, this beer has potential. I like the smell and the attempt at a very festive fruit-forward beer, but it falls way short. The alcohol is way too high and just ruins the whole experience. Maybe if they had kept the abv to about 9% max, it would be a lot more balanced. I don't regret buying this beer, but I'll definitely think twice before purchasing it again.

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Photo of taez555
3.2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a ruby dark brown coca cola colored body with a mild off-white head.

Nose has a strong alcohol note and extremely strong black licorice smells. Honestly at fist it smells like nyquil. Milk chocolate, licorice, liquid caramel and some mild phenols dominate the smell. It's a queer mix, but surprisingly inviting for the winter months.

Taste is medium to full bodied. Taste is dominated, like the nose by a strong mix of licorice and milk chocolate. Cloves, star anise, dry nutmeg, and cinnamon stick stand out as well, but the combination really give it a strong licorice taste. Hop bitterness is kept to a minimum and just enough to balance it out. Finishes with a lingering dry licorice, natural root, sort of flavor.

Some one read the recipe that said 1 teaspoon and accidentally put in 1 tablespoon. Tooo much spice. It's like drinking nyquil beer, or beer mixed with black licorice. I like the idea of the spice beer, but this is just too over the top.

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Photo of willjschmidt
3.2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Sierra Nevada 30th anniversary glass.

A: Pours a very murky brown with a thin tan head.

S: Sweet toffee malt, a bot of booze.

T: Slightly sweet malt in the form of toffee and brown sugar. A bit of spice and white pepper. Very hot and boozy in the finish. A bit muddled.

M: Medium bodied, highly carbonated.

D: I did not enjoy this one as much as I had hoped I would. The hot alcohol in the finish is not very pleasant.

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Photo of stcules
3.2/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black color, almost no reflexes. One finger of beige foam.
In the smell candy sugar, sugary. And malt.
Better taste, with candy sugar, maltiness, molasses. Fruity note (gooseberry). Sweet, spicy, christmas- like. Marzipan.
Alcohol well hidden, good body.
Warming aftertaste, very malty, with marzipan.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 478 ratings.
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