Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

BA SCORE
89
very good
498 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:
498
Ratings:
866
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
15.37%
 
 
Wants:
38
Gots:
107
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 498 | Ratings: 866
Photo of tdiers
4.8/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is my favorite Belgium dark ale. It is my base line and I now compare every dark ale to this. I love the dark bread like and fruity sweetness along with the thick smooth feeling. I buy as much of it as I can when it's available

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

If you like black licorice you'll like this beer. Dark pour, creamy head, smells like anise, tastes like pure black licorice. Nice licorice waxy feel too. A licorice beer through and through.

If you like licorice you'll love it. If not, pass.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's a great beer with a good complexity with the dark fruits, the spices, the toffee and the warming alcohol. It's very smooth and not boozy even if it warms you good. The only problem is the presence of the anise which is a bit strong for me

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Photo of Wer34truh
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque color with a smallish head.

Smells of raisins, fruit, tobacco, and miscellaneous spices. The smell is unique and sticks to the nose. The tobacco smell is emphasized.

Wow! This is both delicious and smooth. While I would not call it complex, there is a delightful but moderate sweetness present, alongside some toffee, sweet bread, and raisins. Mouthfeel is light with low-to-average carbonation.

Most excellent!

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Photo of Marius
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage shared by kermis. Dark caramel with a thin tan head. Notes of caramel, fudge, licorice, sherry. Smooth texture, medium body, low carbonation and a sticky sweet aftertaste.

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Photo of babaracas
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep ruby-tinted brown with two fingers of creamy light brown colored foam, sheet of thin lace down half the glass. Smell: anise, caramelized banana, dark brown sugar, mint, nutmeg-realm spice, some hawaiian roll breadiness lurks behind all that. Taste: the anise hits early and often. Otherwise you've got a brown sugar and orange motif with black pepper, dates, pear. Medium-plus bodied, creamy feel, sticky and spice filled finish. It drinks like a 10.5% dessert christmas beer. Less anise would be much preferred. 21/07/2015 bottling.

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Photo of chinchill
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cellared 2013 bottle served in a Belgian snifter at about 45F.
Dark brown body that's opaque in the glass. Fragile, bubble white head but good lacing.
Aroma: Slightly bready and very fruity with loads of raisins.
Flavor: lightly sweet, moderately complex; fruity with notes of dates and golden raisins. Lightly spicy.
Full bodied with medium carbonation.

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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 Mike_Aguirre
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep brown, clear with a very wide brown foam head, excellent retention. Aroma is complex and spicy, lots of anise, licorish, pepper and clove. Taste is complex, strong very spicy, alcohol is there. No hops. Strong beer for the winter.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This probably is my second-most favorite Christmas/holiday ale. (Anchor's Special Ale is as much an annual tradition as my #1 favorite.)
Het Anker has the advantage of producing two world-class strong darks, so Noel is easier to make great.

While just a dark beauty, even a hard pour leaves surprisingly little foam and lace. OK for a sipper.
Aromas say Christmas; fruity, spicy, cinnamon and even some anise that wafts in-and-out.
Taste is full on-set of similar flavors, but has that warming alcohol that must be honored over-time.
Feel also is full; buttery like the season's foods.
I've found this goes best with desserts and after-wards... assuming I'm not driving.

Reviewed in the "1001 Beers", Noel unquestionably deserves to be on the list. I will seek it every year.

2/1/17 Had again next to Cuvee de Keizer and decided that the Cuvee was richer, more complex and the Noel is less derived from it than I originally remembered. I reduced my rating .14.

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Photo of MrDell
4.86/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

02.04.2016

Gouden Carolus – Christmas
Belgian Strong Dark Ale - 10.5% - 330ml Bottle - Best before 21.09.2018

Appearance: Very very deep brown, almost black until held up to light, then it reveals a lovely deep red colour and medium levels of carbonation. Half finger solid milk coffee coloured head.

Aroma: Complex and very moreish with a strong scent of aniseed and fruit gummy sweets, sweet malt. Toffee apple, brown sugar and dark fruit cake.

Taste: Aniseed and sweet malt flavours up front. Lovely burnt sugar in the middle and an exceptionally long sweet finish of a dark moist rasain cake, fresh from the oven. Nice warm sensation from the alcohol as it fades out.

Mouthfeel: Mouth feel Really smooth, heavy bodied as you'd expect from 10.5% abv. Slightly prickly carbonation just to help it move around the palate.

Overall: hy, oh why didn't I buy more of this when I had the chance!!! I was a little disappointed by the Gouden Carolus Classic, finding it a little bland, but this anything but bland. It's absolutely wonderful. Looking forward to trying more from this brewery. 10/10.

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Photo of Dzu
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 0.33l bottle into Gouden Carolus goblet.
L: Very dark brown with a biege foam head.
S: Plumbs, rasin, sweets.
T: Tart and sweety. Red grape. Complex.
F: Tight body , medium carbonation.
O: Definatly over avarege bsda.

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Photo of dacrza1
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

DATE TASTED: January 10, 2016... GLASSWARE: Affligem chalice... OCCASION: a low-key, high-family Sunday... APPEARANCE: dark burgundy/brown body that releases light only when held to it...head is cloudy with a marshy topography... small bubbles and some lily pads, but more head than expected from a beer fronting a 10+ ABV... AROMA: heavy on the anise, with spruce also making this a formidable brew to encounter... fig, fruitcake, plum and some pungent scents too... PALATE: begins with a vibrant, virile rush at the teeth, before approximating cola mid-body... the finish is lingering with warmth and weight... TASTE: anise-heavy licorice, plum, dates and fig ramp up the sugar rush, while earthy hops allude to a brown ale base...some toasted elements add to a wintry feel... OVERALL: a veritable dessert in itself, this beer ponies up the fruit bowl and purees that into a sweet, sugary winter warmer...I made the mistake (?) of gifting two friends with this before trying it myself, but no mistake after all--the cork and cager delivers with strength and flavor... I would rate this higher, but its core flavors (see above) are not ones I seek out when eating or drinking--no insult to this brew...

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Photo of hardy008
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky dark brown with a two finger beige head, with good retention and lacing. The aroma has dark fruit, spices, pears, brown sugar, and Belgian yeast.

Tastes just like it smells. Has a sweet taste, without being overly sweet. I can't tell what all of the spices are, but am thinking cloves, coriander, and possibly nutmeg.

Medium to full bodied with above average carbonation. A pleasure to drink.

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Photo of Viaduck
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
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 -24.7%
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 unclekeith
3.72/5  rDev -6.3%
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 +13.9%
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 +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 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 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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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.97 out of 5 based on 866 ratings.
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