Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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89
very good
478 Reviews
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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 Bitterbill
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
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 -26.4%
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 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 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 JaimeLondon
4.34/5  rDev +9.3%
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 -0.8%
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.

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Photo of pat61
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
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 -7.3%
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%
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
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful color...deep 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 +19.6%
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 +11.1%
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 +23.7%
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 -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 Zach136
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
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 +8.6%
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 +9.6%
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 +10.1%
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 -10.3%
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 +7.1%
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.

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Photo of 57md
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%

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.

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Photo of mr-jj
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
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 +0.8%

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.

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Photo of timontheroad
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

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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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