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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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BA SCORE
89
very good
484 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:
484
Ratings:
838
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.1%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
98
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 484 | Ratings: 838
Photo of Viaduck
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The cork pops out with a moderate pop & pours a tea colored medium brown & medium head. Smells like hickory farms, a weird sausage aroma. Tastes initially salty & then caramel, lots of of caramel, some grain & hop. Sweet, I like sweet. Nicely balanced. Very good.

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Photo of Monkeefartz
2.99/5  rDev -24.9%
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 unclekeith
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2015 version 750 into a Teku

A: Dark amber, impressive 2-finger off white head that lingers which eventual leaves minimal lacing
S: Black licorice, dark fruits,
T: Sweet anise again, malt, Belgian esters,
M: Full bodied, syrupy, great carb
O: Overwhelmed by the licorice and sweetness, good beer but I'll go for the Kaiser Blue next time

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Photo of beergoot
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date: 06/08/2015, ABV 10,5%

Mahogany hued body with a thick, frothy head. Fruits and nuts aroma; pineapple, lemon and orange peel; spicy; citrus and pine. Candied fruits with touches of peppermint and anise in the flavor; caramel. Heavy body; dense and sweet on the palate.

The damn thing smells like a holiday fruitcake and packs in many of the flavors (and none of this is meant in a disparaging way). Wow! For a big, seasonal Belgian dark ale, this beer pretty much nails the classical European sweets available during the winter holidays. There's no way this would be a regular heavy, dark ale treat, but it just seems to the occasion. Yes, its heavy and sweet, but the load of additional smells and flavors that you pickup are truly amazing. A very fitting beer for the start of the winter holidays.

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Photo of Fear4Beer
4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
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 KonigObHops
3.03/5  rDev -23.9%
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 Bitterbill
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottled August 6th 2015.

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Whiteturtle
2.92/5  rDev -26.6%
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 PatrickCT
2.7/5  rDev -32.2%
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 DuffDaddy
2.25/5  rDev -43.5%
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 JaimeLondon
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer is really awesome. Of a dark color with tones of amber and a delicious foam.
Taste and smell are spicy, floral and hoppy (6 spices and 3 kinds of hops are used). Some roasted/caramel malts in the end with a nice bitterness. It's also mild and of a delicate body. The highlights go to the star anise/liquorice and the nutmeg notes.

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Photo of JayQue
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into my Chimay goblet. Clear amber color with lots of initial carbonation and a light tan colored bubbly white head. Head retention is average or less. Lacing is minimal.

Aroma is sweet malt and toffee. Not that pronounced. Taste is better. Sweet malt, toffee, spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg and dark fruit (plums and raisins). Mouthfeel is rich, lighter than some BSDAs, with plenty of sweetness, very little alcohol presence. An excellent winter warmer/sipper with good flavor and rich feel.

 528 characters

Photo of pat61
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Brilliant ruby tinted chestnut under a 1” cream colored persistent foam collar that hugs the side of the glass.
S: Raisin, nutmeg, spice and faint chocolate.
T: Essence of fruitcake in a glass with dark dried fruit, light caramel, faint chocolate and a touch of anise and nutmeg.
F: A smooth, moussey texture supported by very fine soft carbonation to produce an airy, medium body.
O: A Belgian strong dark Christmas ale with a very fine creamy texture.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - reddish mahogany with off white head

Smell - anise, clove, mint, caramel

Taste - Malt, clove, mint, menthol, black licorice

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, ample carbonation, mint and menthol dominate

overall - inoffensive Christmas beer.

Price Point - $8.99/4pk 11.2 oz bottles

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Photo of ninkasibrew
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at 't Brugs Beertje.
Pours brown with medium carbonation
smell is sweet and candy.
Taste is sweet but mostly dominated by licorice. mouthfeel is medium to full.

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber brown with an average head of large bubbles. Nose is underwhelming with some stale euro hops, malt, allspice, and stale raisins. Taste is better with full sweet malt and very good mouthfeel...a hint of licorice and dates, and some warmth from the ABV. Overall, not as good as I was hoping for, but reasonable for the price.

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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!

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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.

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