Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

BA SCORE
89
very good
866 Ratings
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:
498
Ratings:
866
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
15.37%
 
 
Wants:
38
Gots:
107
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 498 | Ratings: 866
Photo of mickeymac
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's, it's reddish-brown with a thick tan head. The smell is a tantalizing mix of dark ripe fruit, sugary candy, and spice. The taste of plum and grape bounce off anise and hints of cardamom. It has a a nice, chunky mouthfeel. This was my first beer of the evening (on an empty stomach). Neither the smell or taste hinted at the 10.5% abv. However, the warming effect and rush of alcohol to the head told a different story. The whole affair seems like a nice take-off on Grand Cru of the Emperor. It's most certainly another winner from Anker.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer came in a handsome 750 ml. bomber with the obligatory wire cage and cork. As the cork was pulled the wonderful aromas of cherry, brown sugar, and slightly grass hops filled the air. The pour revealed the body to be quite dark brown, with a small head that was short lived. The carbonation level was quite low. The taste was spicy, roasty, and not the least bit boozy. Brown sugar, cinnamon, mint, and nutmeg were the stars of the show here followed by a crackling dry hoppy finish. Mouthfeel was full but not overbearingly so. The alcohol was sneakily hidden under these layers. This is good craftsmanship.

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Photo of Brianmerrilyn
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this one when waiting for a Bear Republic tasting at David Copperfields.

A: Served in goblet to reveal a murky velvet dark crimson color with a khaki 3/4 finger of a head that settled into a tight cap with strong retention.

S: The nose was full of dark fruit and coco but not overpowering.

T: I knew the abv of this beer before I ordered and could not believe how undetectable it was. Gouden Carolus is the most lucsious Belgian Dark Strong Ale I've ever had. Enormeously rich cand Syrupy sweet. The malts do not have a spicy bite at all. Brown sugar, dates and figs mix together to deliver a smooth fruity package.

M: The smoothest delivery I can recall in some time. The rich texture of this beer slides through your lips around your mouth and down your throat with complete ease, all along tasting yeast, spice and lost of candy.

D: I could not think of a better beer to go with various occasions. A wallop of sweetness packed with power and a smooth delivery make this an exceptional beer.

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Photo of haz77
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep clear brown, with a couple of inches of thick light-tan head. Masses of carbonation keep this firmly in place, until is finally drops to a half inch.

S - Yeast, candy cane, dried Christmas fruits, sweet spice.

T - A sweet candy-like flavour initially, with a slight bubblegum edge. The dried fruit flavours push through, before the sweet spices finally emerge. A yeast note drifts in-between these flavours throughout. Slight alcohol warmth in the aftertaste. 10.5% ABV? It doesn't seem like it's anywhere close to that.

M - Silky smooth from start to finish. The aggressive looking carbonation is surprisingly delicate and gently caresses the tongue. Exceptionally good.

D - Absolutely superb. Has the seasonal feel without being overbearing in its flavours. Far too easy to drink for the potency it has.

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Photo of pinotboy007
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased as a (chilled) single at Arrowine, Arlington, VA.

A - Held up to bright light it reveals a gorgeous, deep, very dark mahogany with garnet accents. The head is decent with moderate lacing.

S - Spice cake and leather.

T - Delicious and the best Christmas ale I've ever tasted. Has a splendid array of sweet fig, dates, a touch of toffee, and even some cola. It's not THAT sweet, but the flavor profile is amazing.

M - Liquid velvet.

D - Even with the high ABV this is more than drinkable and will be a total pleasure to enjoy during the coming holidays. Cheers! :)

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Photo of Pepeton
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Found and stored a few 330 ml. bottles of this one since late November for the holidays.

Amuses me that the label bears a Santa Claus on a sleigh pulled by horses instead of reindeers. Nice indeed.

Has a best before date of 2009.

Appearance is of dark mahogany, with deep red hues; beautiful tan head and an apparently everlasting lacing.

Smell is very complex, with a full malt backbone, but a lot of ripe fruit, like raisins, plums, also a spiciness that resembles me black pepper and, naturally, alcohol.

Taste is as complex as smell, even more. It's almost chewy, with a dark fruit pudding taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy; proudly bears whole body; with a buttery aftertaste. Round and balanced, has a nice unabashed bitter ending.

This beer is indeed an outstanding example for the style.

I have to go for more and stock 'em in my cellar (the back of my closet) for years to come.

¡Salud!

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.44/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage.

Pours a one finger off-white head over a deep mahogany body. Small bubbles rise to the surface. The head recedes with a creamy ring around the edge and respectable lace. Aromas of vinous fruit—plums, raisins—some pear too. Slightly musty. The flavor is similarly delectable with wave after wave of malty complexity. It starts with caramel and dark fruit interwoven with a nice sweetness. More berry-like fruit emerges toward the middle and finish. Just enough bitterness toward the finish to add a slight crispness and balance. There are some unidentifiable spice notes from the yeast or spice additions that add complexity without being overdone. Medium to full-bodied. The carbonation is a bit low for a Belgian, but is still high enough to provide balance and prevent the sweet full body from being too slick.

Full of malty complexity in both aroma and flavor. It seems there are some spice additions, but they are properly done and add complexity without standing out as spices. A great winter-time sipper.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured, it's deep ruby body is just slightly hazy and appears almost brown beneath its full head of frothy tan foam. The head retention is quite good and it leaves some very nice lace as well. The nose is rich and exciting but not overtly bold, revealing more and more of itself with each sniff. Cola (cardamom) is evident upfront, backed by a note of sweet black licorice (from star anise) and some prune-like fruit. Nutmeg and cinnamon creep in along with some tropical fruit, the suggestion of caramel and cocoa, and a splash of thin alcohol. It's lightly tingly across the tongue with an exceptionally fine, median carbonation and a medium light body. In the flavor, fruit is initially suggested with a combination of berries, cherries, pluums, and tropical notes that quickly become drenched in cola syrup. Chocolatey notes approach but hesitate to actually make an entrance; and sweet anise becomes dominant at the swallow. Alcohol skirts around the edges as well, always present but without ever really making itself known. It finishes dry but with the suggestion of sweetness, similar to molasses; and with a light dusting of ginger and peppery spiciness. Quite remarkable! As complex as it is, it's actually very focused. An impressively spiced holiday ale that deserves a place at the dinner table: working equally well as an apertif, mid-meal accompanyment with a wide variety of dishes, balancing dessert beer, after-dinner drink or night-cap. A brilliant diamond in the rough!

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Photo of weeare138
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 750 mL corked & caged bottle from this past release...
Appears a murky, amber-toned brown with a small, creamy tan head that slowly fades into a floating cap of milky froth. Plenty of scattered chunks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of fig, raisins, caramel, candi-sugar, apples, anise, cinnamon, molasses, and brown sugar.
Taste is of the blended aromas in a sugary, plumy mix that has hints of tobacco leaf and doughy yeast.
Mouthfeel is medium/full bodied, sugary sweet up front with a smooth, warming cake-like dessert enjoyability.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Merry Christmas in July!

bottled date: 3-2010

A-dark chestnut with a thin light tan head. beautiful.

S-pine needles, sweetgum leaves, and black licorice. this smells amazing and complex.

T-comes in with a great taste of dark belgian malts and black licorice. its a nice warming flavor. has a great biscuty context to it, it then transitions to an after-taste of licorice, belgian sugars, and caramel.

M-medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-this is just great tasting. i could drink this all night long, which is hard to say for many beers of this weight. i like the Noel spin on the style. it doesn't get old, in fact, i wish i could've had a lot more.

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If I was having a bad day, this is certainly a beer I wouldn't mind coming home to. Pour is a tad more brown than amber, with tan head sealing the deal. Aroma is sugary sweet, like a black cherry pie out of the oven. Taste is brown sugar, cherries and a bit of buttery maple syrup. I'd say this is devine. Mouthfeel is good and velvety. I bought one bottle but certainly will buy it again. This is a fix for a Belgian craving.
Note:
Paired it with some smoked gouda and that worked well. However, I would choose something a bit more sharp next time.

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Photo of Pegasus
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Opaque amber body, surmounted by a small, dense off-white head., which quickly fades The lacing is thick and unbroken.

Aroma: Lots of dark fruit, bourbon, burnt caramel, sugar, molasses, and earth. It really is as complex as that.

Taste: Opens with molasses, brown sugar, soon afterward, sweet alcohol, then dark fruits. Midway through the taste, there are a profusion of spices: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Dark fruits are also a dominating presence, particularly plums and raisins. Throughout the taste, there is a strong presence of whiskey flavors, as if the beer had been fermented in bourbon barrels. The ABV of this beer (10.00%) makes itself known with an strong undercurrent of sweet, vinous alcohol. The taste draws to a close with a lingering , sweet whiskey note and a strong licorice presence.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft and velvety. Simply superb.

Drinkability/notes: An over-the-top example in terms of quality.

Presentation: Packaged in a twenty-five point four ounce Belgian-style brown glass bomber with a cork and cage, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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Photo of ales4baldo
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P-winter landscape with Santa flying over what probably is a small Belgian town.

A-foggy nutmeg brown. A bit cloudy and dark with a misty feel. Almost no head retention. Poured thick and smooth.

S-Belgian candy and ripe plum. Belgian malts and yeast as well. Black licorice and chocolate notes.

T-basically everything I mentioned above. Nice sweet notes and smooth alcohol hints roll on the tongue nicely. Belgian candy really keeps the beer nice and sweet but not overpowering.

M-really smooth and silk like. Alcohol presence is very soft and light. Carbonation is crisp. Full bodied and delicious.

O-this beer is going to age very well. Really good and smooth with lots of character and body. A really good beer and what I expected.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip. My bottle indicates 10% ABV rather than the above-noted 10.5%.

Appearance: deep, rich, hazy brown with one finger of tenacious light tan foam head. Quite attractive.

Smell: sweet, rich & complex dark fruity malt aromas: plum, loose tobacco, cherry, pear; quite a delicious aroma indeed.

Taste: flavor has much of those aforementioned characteristics but is at the same time brighter and mustier. The flavor starts off with a bit of a dusty flatness and then morphs into a brighter (though still understated) tartness at the side of the tongue. Both of these states readily complement and amplify the tasty fruit flavors. I'm loving this brew.

Mouthfeel: plenty of body and an extremely smooth, well-crafted creaminess. An excellent experience.

Drinkability: I've a hard choice here, as it is hard for me to rate something with 10+% ABV as very drinkable. But I love the flavor, so here goes: I would go out of my way to have this beer again.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first impression with this brew is that it is a dead ringer for Three Philosophers. I'd have to try them side by side, but the similarity is uncanny, with the sweet, almost cherry -like taste. Seems sweeter than the normal Gouden, but very good and quite warming. Dark, deep, and substantial. Not to be missed as a seasonal...

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Freshly tapped in a Gouden Carolus chalice.
Cast a dusky magenta, showing lighter crimson at the edges.
Slim beige head.

Gorgeous aroma. Sweetness. Cocoa. Dark fruit. Creamy. A raisin wrapped in chocolate, dipped in brandy, set on fire. Wine-like, at times.

Slick, sweet and delicious on the tongue. Slips through the mouth and tickles the senses. Warm, and wonderful. Molasses, brown sugar, figs, and carob. Then the booze speaks up. And I agree with everything it's saying.

Long, warming finish. Never too hot, never too sweet, just right.
Spice + fruit + magical Belgian malt and yeast = perfection.
Yum meets yum.
This is just right for tonight. It's what 3 below? Holy Cow!
I have half a mind to stay right here and finish the keg. Sounds like a plan...

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Photo of sartoric
4.48/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle opened at home and poured in a Gouden Carolous cup.
Pour a nice dark brown with tan head. Immediately the complex aroma hits you with malty and caramel fragrance, then came the licorice and a spicy background and some rhubarb. Sweetness and Bitterness are well balanced.

Its full slightly sticky body and soft carbonation make this brew a wonderful pairing for "Cassoeula" a typical Milan's winter old and poor recipe made by stewed pork parts (rind,rib,ear,snout,foot,lil' sausages) and savoy cabbage.

Aging is strongly recommended. After 1 year the body and smoothness that didn't met my expectations last year (that doesn't mean I didn't enjoyed this beer ;) ) are now very satisfactory

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Photo of Fear4Beer
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Did some of us drink a different brew? I drank this in 2015 from a bottle made in 2015. I poured this beer out into a wheat beer glass and this beer just looks incredible. Nice a head, a dark amber color, and it smells so good. When I smell it I get anise, the sort of anise you would get from a Canoli or a Pizzelle and a bunch of other spices blended together harmoniously. The taste was wonderful. I got a lot of malt up front (trying to remember from memory here) and I remember thinking it had a rootbeer taste to it with added "christmas spices" clove, anise, etc. The beer was not bitter, it was malt forward and it was very pleasant. It had 10% abv which is quite high, so drink with caution, it can't sneak up on you!

Just a delicious brew! I tried another "Christmas Ale" right after I drank this bottle and it didn't compare to this one. It felt watered down to this beer. This brew just delivered imo. I don't know what the beeradvocate "bros" drank, but it must have been years ago with a different recipe at that time. I drank this cold and it was outstanding. Maybe if I let it warm up a bit it would have tasted much different? Usually that happens with beer with many spices, it becomes even more intense. I'd recommend drinking this cold, because I can say without a doubt it tasted wonderful.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle bought from Beersofeurope.co.uk... aged for about 18 months...

Poured a deep dark burgundy red colour. Creamy head poured quite loose and foamy then faded to just a thin ring around the edge... light carbonation... some sticky lacing...

Aroma - Dark spicy fruits (raisins, prunes, some blackcurrents, light banana), strong toasted toffee maltiness, some molasses notes, light aniseed hints, some light rum traces, vanilla, light oakiness, some nuttiness, peppery hops...

Taste - Quite spicy vinuous fruits (definite raisins and prunes, spicy apples, some strawberries and blackcurrents), brown sugar / toffee sweetness, toasted bready maltiness, strong Belgian yeastiness, light brandy notes, Christmas spices (nutmeg and light cinnamon), nice warming alcohol, liquorice hints, spicy hops...

Feel - Quite sharp and dry then some smoothness coming through after.. Medium / full bodied... Pretty drinkable considering the strength...

Overall - An excellent Christmas beer - perfect for a cold winters night. Highly recommended...

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Photo of petemoss14
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle.

Pours a deep ruby color with a creamy tan head that settles to thin blanket that clings.

Wonderfully full aroma. Sweet anise/licorice asserts itself confidently. Esters of grape and plum. Cherry and, dare I say, roasted pear. Or perhaps pear poached in mulled wine or port. Spicy phenols -- clove, and a touch of cinnamon. These warm spices are accompanied by something a bit brighter as well -- cardamom perhaps. Not sure if I want to drink this, then there'd be nothing left to smell!

Oh, so creamy smooth on the palate. More fruit on the palate. Sweet but not cloying. Again, roasted -- a bit of caramel -- pear comes to mind, studded with cardamom. Cinammon and cocoa. Sultanas. More sweet anise. Actually finishes dry -- like a dusting of cocoa, with a touch of bitterness at the back of the tongue.

Really, this beer is simply delicious. I wish I had some almond biscotti, as I think this would be the perfect accompaniment. Definitely my favorite Belgian Noel, and also my favorite Carolus. Seek it out!

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Photo of Ricelikesbeer
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I made sure to buy one of these (750 ml bottle) around Christmas time this year to see what I thought of it at a later date. Today is 4-14-2012. The date on the bottle reads 9-8-2011.

A:

Hazy pour, heavily carbonated, The bottle gave off plenty of smoky-looking fumes from all of the co2 escaping. the beer is a murky dark brown, almost a purple-ish color with red highlites held up to light.

S:

A heavy whiff produces plenty of spice character, mostly licorice or anise. There is a sweetness there behind that smell, but it is pretty overpowering. I can pick up a slight hint of bready malt as well.

T:

A deep gulp gives me a huge burst of flavor on the tongue, mostly sweetness up front, then spice and more anise, then booziness and a good balanced dryness. This is a big beer all around, and the dryness really helps drink this beer. I get a lot of the typical gouden carolus candy sweetness. I am reminded of gummy bears or jolly ranchers. The maltiness is really juicy and complex. A bit more layers even produce the typical stone fruit flavors. This one is really quite sweet though, which I typically enjoy. There is no hop presence here anywhere in the experience.

M:

Medium-heavy body, but the carbonation/dryness of this lends to a velvet-like smoothness. Their is a lot of alcohol and warming sensation, but the alcohol isn't super solvent.

O:

This is a big/sweet monster. The anise flavor is almost overwhelming, but the overall complexity of the yeast and other sugars dials this one in for me. It is very sweet and more of a nightcap or dessert beer, but I really enjoy it. I'll buy this one each Christmas time, and I even was inspired to brew something quite similar.

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Photo of nomad
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark beer with reddish corners, it poured out with little head or lace. Oh well. Smelled like an artisanal laundry list: chocolate, dark malt, licorice, cherries, sour esters, apricot. Had that only-Belgians-could-do aspect of a yeasty funk covered in malt that has been vigorously chewed by attenuation. Complex without being muddled, this beer is wonderful for its immediately comforting profile with obvious connections to wintry aromas. Christmas in a bottle, indeed.

Tastes of dark malt with some undistinguished fruity flavors, most like cherries in a sense, yet pleasing in its estery fruit punch mix. Shows lots of alcohol with opening, yet never noxious because its complex in a winey and big Beligan way. A chocolate-like earthiness supports the whole profile. For me, the moderate mouthfeel comes across a little too low, and does need a little carbonation.

A tasty beer, and one of the best Christmas beers. A big, strong, and impressive beer.

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Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tap at the Taco Mac in Cumberland, GA. The appearance is a dark reddish-brown color with a small off-white head. The aroma is fruit and cinnamon with some black licorice. Has a very nice flavor of licorice and the alcohol blends in well.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy brown color ale with a huge foamy head with great retention and good lacing. Aroma of sweet candy and anis is dominating and quite enjoyable and almost reminiscent of Rochefort. Taste is a nice mix between strong Belgian malt, sweet candy and anis. There is some sweetness but it never goes overboard and provides great balance with some light typical Belgian yeast. It appears that this brewery just won’t stop to amaze me with all those great beers.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gouden Carolus Noel has a thin, cream-colored or beige head, a medium-brown, appearance, fierce bubble streams, and some thin lacing left behind. The aroma is sharp- sweet, rich, spiced bread, licorice, alligator pepper, fruit, and other assorted herbs and spices, which I can’t pin down. Taste is similar, with an overriding licorice aspect. There is even a menthol note upon inhalation and exhalation. Mouthfeel is medium to thick and somewhat prickly, and Gouden Carolus Noel finishes mostly dry and decently drinkable. Alcohol is not picked up, except faintly in the background. Overall, this is a super beer!

RJT

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.97 out of 5 based on 866 ratings.
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