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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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BA SCORE
89
very good
483 Reviews
THE BROS
67
poor
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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:
483
Ratings:
836
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.1%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
98
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 483 | Ratings: 836
Photo of Jeffreysan
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2011 vintage 22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, cloudy, murky, deep mahogany color with a finger of oatmeal-colored head that quickly dissolved into a halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed a few wispy clouds that gathered in the center of the top of the beer.

Aroma: Tons of dried stone fruit, such as prunes, dates, cherries and raisins. I get notes of candied sugar, malt and Belgian yeast and some spices such as nutmeg, all-spice and brown sugar.

Taste: Delicious! Good, god there’s a lot of toffee! Tons of nutty, caramel-like brown sugar-like sweetness, balanced beautifully with toasted malt and Belgian-yeast! Fantastic!

Mouthfeel: Chewy, with no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10.5%, there is a definite alcohol presence on the palate, imparting a very pleasant warmth in the mouth.

Overall: Goddamn, this is an absolutely AWESOME beer! I love the strong flavors of toffee and dried fruit. Absolutely, fantastically, delicious!


2013 vintage 22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, cloudy, murky, deep mahogany color with a finger of oatmeal-colored head that quickly dissolved into a halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass and formed a few wispy clouds that gathered in the center of the top of the beer.

Aroma: Tons of dried stone fruit, such as prunes, dates, cherries and raisins. I get notes of candied sugar, malt and Belgian yeast and some spices such as nutmeg, all-spice and brown sugar.

Taste: Delicious! Again, strong notes of dried stone fruit, such as prunes, dates, cherries and raisins, beautifully balanced with some roasted malt, Belgian yeast, and candied sugar. Absolutely delicious!

Mouthfeel: Chewy, with no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10.5%, there is a definite alcohol presence on the palate, imparting a very pleasant warmth in the mouth.

Overall: Goddamn, this is an absolutely awesome beer, but not quite as AWESOME as the aged 2011. I love the strong flavors of the dried fruit and candied sugar, which is balanced perfectly with the malt and yeast. Absolutely delicious!

 2,155 characters

Photo of janubio
4.41/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep broown colour, with red reflections to the light. Medium beige head that does not hold for too long, but leaves a good lace. Smell of earth, spices, maybe pepper, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, dried fruits, candy, anis, licorice... Medium body and carbonation, it felles great in the palate, creamy and rich. Taste of licorice, dried fruits, clove, vanilla, cinnamon, caramel. Great.

 385 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.91/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a St. Bernardus glass.

Look: Dark mahogany with ruby showing through the light. The head is cream colored, leaves a wisp of cloud cover after dissipation. Light dots of lacing.

Aroma: Cinnamon, apples, mint, bread.

Taste: Bready malts come first, then cinnamon, raisins, and apples. A little touch of mint in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonated.

Overall: One of the most delicious "holiday" beers I've ever had. I will buy this again next December.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
3.06/5  rDev -23.1%
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 Zach136
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up Christmas Eve 2014, bottle said 30/07/2013. So I'm guessing it's the 2013 vintage.

Appearance: Deep ruby/brown, off white head with pretty good lacing.

Aroma: Fairly intense sugar plum candy, raisons and assorted dark fruit with some bready/biscuity character. No alcohol.

Flavor: More of the same as the nose, dark fruit and candy sweetness, hints of chocolate, but a much more present booze.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with a warming boozy finish.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

look: hazy dark tan...looks like sorghum syrup with a head. thick tan head with loads of messy lacing.
smell: spice, vanilla, dark fruits. Very nicely blended range of aromas.
taste: more of the same. all the flavors of the nose blended into one tasty brew.
overall: Great beer. Had this lined up for Christmas eve and we never got to it. Wish we had.

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Photo of little_star
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Licorice, licorice, licorice. Lots of it. Syrupy, sweet, rich, and boozy. It's not the best of the Gouden Carolus beers, but it does remind me of Christmas.
Cheers.

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Photo of AJacob81
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Hopleaf this past weekend. This must be a different beast from a keg than a bottle, or maybe freshness makes a big difference, because this was one of the best Christmas beers I've ever had, and I don't understand the more tepid reviews below.

Anyway, this came to me in a Carolus-branded goblet, and the head had settled to a nice foamy beige ring. The ale itself was a rich mahogany hue with auburn accents. The nose was a bit muted, but gingerbread and fruitcake were ascendant, with strong supporting turns from cocoa, cinnamon, and cardamom. As the beer warmed and opened up a little more, later sniffs revealed burnt brown sugar, orange zest, and the slightest hint of mint. The taste contains everything from the nose, along with a strong note of Fig Newtons that dominates throughout. Also, the mint is much more prominent, bringing to mind freshly cut spearmint which I found delightful. The feel is silky smooth, with just enough carbonation to keep the sips coming.

I really enjoyed this beer, but I'm hesitant to seek it out bottled based on what I'm seeing from others. If not, we'll always have the Hopleaf. Hoping it's back on draft there next winter.

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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.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review from notes. Dark brown color with light brown head. Aroma pops with star anise / liquorice and dark sugar. Taste follows with the same liquorice note, dark fruits and syrupy sweetness. Really interesting dark sugar / liquorice profile. This is probably my favorite belgian Christmas beer from the ones I had so far.

 322 characters

Photo of 57md
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%

Bottle dated as best before 1st August 2011. I’m guessing that makes this a 2010 vintage… Score!

Brownish copper. Caramel notes abound in the nose. The flavor profile is distinctly malt forward complemented with sweet notes of caramel and molasses. The alcohol is in check but surprisingly still pokes through in the slightest way on the finish. Slightly tart on the finish as well.

I’ve heard that this beer is really hot when it is young. I can’t say because this aged beauty was my first try. I can say that I definitely liked the four-year old version quite a bit.

 584 characters

Photo of mr-jj
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Trails End. Nitro.

Pours a dark brown with a nice tan head. A very pretty nitro beer. Smell is quite nice - Christmas spices, dark fruits and booze. Very appropriate for winter. Flavor is similar to the nose with lots of sweetness, dark fruit and booze. Body is lighter than expected, with nice carbonation.

Overall, a very good beer that I enjoyed a lot.

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Photo of M_J_Z
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Had this on draft last night. I enjoyed it. 3.75-4. It didn't blow me away but it was tasty. Very solid for the style. Definitely something I'd order again, though this isn't my favorite style and I'm not overly crazy about Belgian beers.

 238 characters

Photo of timontheroad
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark reddish brown with a sparse tan head that faded immediately to a thin film. The aroma is sweet, with lots of licorice, some dark fruit notes and some spiciness. The taste is licorice and more licorice, with some cherry, raisin, figs, and kind of a "winey" taste. The mouthfeel is medium to light, with a bit of alcohol burn, very little carbonation. It seems like there's a lot of different flavors in this beer, but they aren't melded well. Not the best Christmas Ale out there, but a solid drinker nonetheless.

 527 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%

Had a 2008 bottle last week and here is review. Poured a reddish brown body with minimal head and lace and a velvety aroma that is boozy and woody while giving off spices like pepper and ginger and dark fruits like black cherry, figs and raisins.
The beer is oh so sweet and smooth and for the booziness and flavors it packs it really is only medium bodied and not thick/syrupy at all.
Maybe too sweet for some, and with the aged bottle I had too boozy, but the sweetness from spices and fruits, such as candi sugar, figs, hints of toffee and caramel, spices like anise and ginger, and vanilla bourbon sweetness, just really pack a great punch for me.
I found balance in the beer with touches of bread like malt and yeast so no too sweet and has a mild finish thanks to well hidden booze.

 791 characters

Photo of barczar
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought 2 years ago, probably got 3 or more years on it.

Pours an opaque deep brown with a dense, frothy khaki head that lingers as a thin layer of foam.

Rum-soaked date nut bread overwhelms the initial aroma. Reminds me exactly of Christmas at grandma's. Notes of raisins and treacle emerge.

Flavor is rife with dark fruit character. Prunes, dates, booze, figs, plums, and bruised cherries underlie a cloyingly sweet, candi sugar backbone. Cola comes to mind in subsequent sips.

Body is smooth and rich, fairly full, with minimal carbonation.

Sweeter than I had hoped, but the complex ester character is phenomenal. Still boozy and warming, this could probably age a few more years. Some oxidized sherry notes would counter the sweetness well, if they developed. The longer this beer lingered open, the better it got. Slightly tart sherry notes came out more, making it much less cloying.

 893 characters

Photo of Jeffwildcat
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The anise and clove hit you immediately on this one. Bottle date is August 2013 so it has aged quite a bit. Abv says 10.5 but seems closer to 12. Very smooth and abc doesn't hit you you until 1/2 way. Certainly more of a Christmassy beer but had to open 1 of 2 I had. Glad I did.

 279 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
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

 621 characters

Photo of Sludgeman
3.39/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle on 1/8/11, $5.29/11.2oz, poured into a tulip.

A "winter warmer" for sure, but a complex mess and an ugly pour. The alcohol will sneak up on you, but it does not balance the malty sweetness. Not a drain pour, but never again. A very disappointing beer based on my previous experience with and general affection for Carolus. 3.25

A – Pours a cloudy, murky, muddy brown (-) with a beige mousey one-finger head, totally opaque, good lacing. 2.75

S – Sweet port-like, vinous, alcohol – a little whiskey, definitely raisins and figs, spiciness is faint to non-existent. 3.75

T – Sweet malt, some liqueur qualities. 3.25

MF – Medium-bodied, some alcohol warmth in the finish and lasting on the palate, not solventy but close. 3.75

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Photo of DJLehnherr
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured this out of a bottle on a sunny but coldish early March day, and pairing it with chicken roasted in a beer-based sauce. Pour out an opaque dark-brown color with only a very little foamy white head, which falls away quickly. Smells of sweet malt with maybe a hint of vanilla and even licorice-like scents…

Quite sweet to the taste, on the first sip. Nice toasty-burnt maltiness there, but the caramel sweetness dominates, more than I expected. Sourness, too, on the lingering taste, but only a little cherry fruitiness — I’m getting more of that licorice-anise taste/scent again… Pleasant mix overall, very little carbonation.

This beer has 10% ABV, believe it or not, but the alcohol content is quite hidden behind its sweet/dark character. It catching up to me by the end of the bottle, this beer packs quite the ABV punch!

Paired well with the chicken, mashed potatoes and beer-based gravy on a cold day, if you ask me, and I’d gladly drink it again. Quite strong, however, so be prepared!

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Photo of hosehead83
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a "bomber" bottle into a balloon glass.
Dark brown in color, with a nice sturdy head of frothy tan foam.
Aroma-Spices, dark fruit, figs, anise
Taste-Sweetly spiced figs, raisins, plums, anise. Very rich and smooth for strength. A bit on the sweetish side for my taste. A slow sipper.

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 8/6/2012. Pours lightly cloudy very dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, cherry, plum, prune, fig, licorice, molasses, toast, candi sugar, brown bread, herbal, light clove, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity and balance of dark malt/candi sugar and fruity yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, prune, cherry, fig, licorice, molasses, candi sugar, toast, herbal, light pepper, clove, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of raisin, plum, prune, fig, cherry, licorice, molasses, toast, candi sugar, pepper, light clove, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible balance and complexity of dark malt/candi sugar and fruity/spicy yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately slick, smooth, and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding Belgian strong dark ale. All around awesome complexity and balance of dark candi sugar malt and fruity/spicy yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,471 characters

Photo of Tedro
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Great beer! For Me definitely something to reserve for the cold weather. It definitely has a holiday flair to it. My friends took a taste and they said they'd drink it year round. Not a year round beer for me personally but delicious nonetheless. An herbal and licorice flavor is prominent. Cheers

 297 characters

Photo of BierJager89
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark purple, almost black with a mocha head.

S: Nutmeg, cinnamon, maybe some cloves, cherry, currants and maybe figs in the nose.

T: Cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, fig, cherry and dark fruit.

M: Full bodied and smoothish.

O: A delicious combination of fruit flavors, though perhaps not as christmasy as some other winter abbey ales.

 336 characters

Photo of Hopscat
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful look to this , black and very opaque .Beige head about 1/2 inch that settles slowly to good cover with nice lacing on sides of glass.
Smells of dark char, licorice, dark fruit, some herbal hops and candi sugar and licorice or allspice ?
Tastes rich with malts / sweetness - molasses upfront and then the spicey shows up with licorice- allspice - and some other stuff - 6 spices are added per the notes. I'd rate higher but the licorice is too strong for me. Alcohol is well masked even with warming.
Mouthfeel is med heavy with about right carbonation . Creamy feel invites more sipping.
Overall this isn't my favorite style. The licorice flavor just overwhelmed the rest though my second bottle a couple weeks later wasn't so overwhelming. Only my third strong dark belgian so experience is limited. Like Delirium Tremens much better.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.98 out of 5 based on 836 ratings.
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