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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
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:
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 ypsifly
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Undated 750 that is corked and caged poured into a chalice.

Deep brown with slight reddish edges and two dense fingers of light tan that has unreal retention and leaves a lumpy sheet of lace that coats the inside of the glass. Beautiful!

Lots of yeast and spices in the nose. Bananas, bubblegum, clove, nutmeg, dark sugars, raw fruitcake dough, and something that smells a bit like a freshly made holiday wreath. Awesome!

Malts and dark fruits upfront with something that tastes like Pepsi, licorice, nutmeg, sweet yeast flavors, and a dash of peppery alcohol in the background. The flavor reminds me of the '96 Anchor OSA, but much bolder with a sweeter finish. I really like this one.

Nice full velvety mouth, no oils left in its wake. Delicious. If it wasn't for the abv I could sip this in front of the fire all night.

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Photo of Sigmund
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, corked "champagne" style. ABV is 10.5%. Deep chestnut colour, large light tan head, nice lacing. Malty sweet and spicy aroma - aniseed, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cloves(?) Notes of oak and leather too. Flavour is also dominantly malty sweet (too sweet) with caramel and spices, a certain hoppy bite too. Alcohol is evident, but not overwhelming. A fairly complex beer, but too much malty sweetness keeps me from giving it a top rating.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.69/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, no evidence of dating of any sorts.

brilliant ruby color, smooth re-forming thin layer of tightly microscopic bubbles.. lacing dries hardcore quicker than i can drink the beer. gets your fingers all sticky. aroma exemplifies the perfect boozy belgian.. big candi sugar with muted cherries, green apples, and a large biscuity heaviness in the nose. caramelized sugar. slight perfumed spice in the end of scent absorption. at a barely-cool temperature, the flavor expands on the tongue from the more pronounced flavors (warming liqueur like estery alcohol) to the lesser quirky notes (pear, caramel, apple).

thicker mouthfeel without being syrupy.. moves around spryly and goes down easy. gravity serves more to encourage sipping than to limit drinkability. very sweet for the holiday beer requirements, but big helpings of malt and yeast balance the nectar qualities with beeriness. cherries soaked in brandy.. clean herbal botanicals. liquor sting is expected like it is with a nice sipping scotch.

this is a huge beer, a special occasion beer. as far as their dark offerings go, het anker remains one of the top shelf belgian breweries doing business today.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.36/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Cork released without a struggle into a Duvel tulip that filled ‘er up with an impressive 50/50 pour of head to body. Let’s describe: Body is of dark ruddy brown cloudy pour without any light escaping save for the bottom of the tulip. Could this get any better? No. A superlative tan khaki head cap of two inch froth that is statuesque and smooth containing pour dents and thick painted on lace.

Sweet nutmeg, cinnamon and dark fruit malts pervade the nose. Some bunt cake, musty biscuit and spice aromas. [Jeepers, is this head cap incredible or what???]

First swigs: Dessert like spice wafer malt treat. Spiced dark fruit of plum, date and cocoa. Caramel and Dr. Pepper meet roasted malt notes. True to style, bold Belgian Ale with almond extract and maple syrup.Yeasty slightly coconut and bread dough. Dry lingering molasses aftertaste.

What a creamy smooth texture that needs to be experienced. Soft yet cushiony spongy and medium to full body. A bit complex and malty to be overly quaffable.

Last swigs: Molasses and sweet cocoa rummy Noël. Borders along Englisg style BarleywineAt $8.25 for a 10% ABV 1 PT 9.4 Fl OZ bomber. What a killer deal!

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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

Everything about this beer seems to be black - color is a super blackened ruby oil capped by a tall, softly whipped yet lumpy, cinnamon dusted, light tan head. Settles off to a thin, uneven skim and the lacing is whimsically placed in thin and webby broken sheeting.

Aroma is airy and pleasantly soft yet robust of black licorice, dirt, and the blackest of black malts without much sweetness at all. Cindering hints of bright pepper phenols and anise percolate right over the top.

Taste nearly mirrors the aroma with a tender sweet black malt, fainter dark fruity nuances, and cola sryup masked in a ever present black licorice spice. Finishes with shadowy cinnamon, anise, ginger, minty skoal tobacco juice, earthy pine needles; quick, yet muffled, phenol laced alcoholic heat, some leftover cola sweetness and a drying of light throat burning sweetness.

Complexly characterized in girth that sits just above a medium body but somehow keeps a general softer sweetness and spice that's magnificently handled. Lots of subtle spicy layering and a finely heated throat burn, belly warming, and mind-boggling play between sweet and dark; and, warm and spicy. Fun stuff. It really grows on ya as you engage in its presence.

Even with all its finely set warming and spice this makes for a really nice drinker and an even finer treat. I'm becoming more of fan to these Noel/Winter Warmer-type brews and I'm thinking Winter isn't really that bad here in MN as long as I have this kind of beer around to keep me company.

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Photo of merlin48
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml, corked and caged bottle with attractive winter scene art on the label, as shown in the pic. Pours a clear, ruby chestnut body with a thick and creamy tan head that rises to one inch in height in my goblet. Excellent retention and lots of clingly patch lace.
Aroma begins very fruity, with overripe bananas and dark fruits. Prunes, figs, and currants are picked up by the nose. A prominent note of black licorice is a bit distracting.
Mouthfeel begins with a chewy note of black licorice that seems to stick to the roof of my mouth. Medium to full body with effervescent carbonation.
Taste feautures lots of dark fruit esters. Prunes, figs, and currants mirror the aroma. Bitterness is served up by herbal hops and earthy yeast notes. The dominant flavor, as room temperature is reached, is chewy black licorice and spicy anise. Some clove and cinnamon are also noted. The 10.5 % abv is also noticed, and could have been better concealed.
Overall, a pretty fine winter sipping Belgian strong dark ale, but the black licorice/anise component is somewhat overdone.

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

Pours a cloudy leathery brown with a bubbly tan head that flattens out and breaks up across the surface of the body. Sweet candied aroma with a pleasant fruitiness. There's some yeast and anise in the nose also. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. Sweet molasses-like front with a nice candied fruitiness to it. Bready malt steps up right behind it. Black licorice follows. Somewhat sour and vinous finish has some very subtle and slight chocolate tones to it. Alcohol is masked nicely when chilled, but becomes more noticably when the ale warms to room temperature. This is a nice Chirstmas/Winter brew to warm the heart during the cold winter months.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at The Moan & Dove, Amherst, MA. Presented in a almost straight-sided Saison DuPont glass.

Arrives with a 1/4" beige head above the dark caramel-hued brew. Head is somewhat short-lived, yet exhibits good lacing. Aroma is sweet malts with an alcohol tinge. Taste follows the nose, with spicy Belgian notes. Mouthfeel and drinkability both excellent. Excellent holiday brew.

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle no date code, poured into a grottenbier glass.
Pours the color of maple syrup, with a creamy short lived head.
Alcohol floats on top.
Big fruity aroma, melons, dates, raisins, with some brown sugar and spice thrown in for good measure.
Flavor is sweet, prunes, oranges, anise, candied fruit. a little pithy on the finish. after it warms it takes on a cream sherry like feel (with carbonation) almost a dessert type beer.
ABV is well hidden, so use caution when drinking.

 489 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle, cork and cage, pours dark brown, murky and cloudy, dark tan head, good retention and well developed sticky lacing. Nose is strongly anise, ginger, alcohol and burnt fruits. this is a lovely and complex BSDA. Alcohol evident, warming. Notes of dark sugars, burnt fruit, smoke, vanilla, bananas, jam, dark malt. This strong brew has it going on in many directions. Fine winter treat.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

01/07/05- On tap at the Toronado in San Francisco.

Presentation- Served in a tulip glass.

Appearance- A dark reddish-brown pour. Almost like liquid milk chocolate. 3/4 inch head with above average lacing.

Smell- Full of fruits. Mostly muted citrus fruits. Maybe nectarines, peaches, maybe plums?

Taste- Lots of licorice, which I normally dispise, but in this case it served it's purpose. Lots of sweet toned down fruity tastes also. Maybe a bit of burnt banana taste.

Mouthfeel- Very lightly carbonated and a full mouthfeel made this one super to enjoy.

Drinkability- Very new and odd taste to me, but was fantastic. I will be looking for this one in a bottle if I can find it around here. Glad I venutred off my path to try this one at $7.00 a glass.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.79/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky copper color with a low light brown head. Strong spicy aroma (coriander and black pepper) with lots of phenolic alcohol overtones and dark fruits. Tastes much like it smells with lots of dark fruit and spices; Big and Rich !! Medium-full bodied and very warming.

Not just another Double-Dubbel ... !!

Per Label: Since 1369

($8.09 / 25.4 oz corked and caged champagne style bottle)

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

Poured out a deep bronw with a mild head that dissipated but not too quickly.
Smell was malty goodness with hints of dried fruits and spices, nutmeg, clove.
Taste was about the same as the smell, nice mild spiciness followed by the dried fruits and malts very nice. The only downfall on this one was the alcohol became quite apparent as this one warmed up a bit. It was very warming and still quite pleasant and drinkable just a little too up front in the end.
Still a very nice and drinkable belgium that I would buy again.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
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 maxpower
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged, Dark and cloudy reddish-brown in color, big thick clingy brown head, sweet fruity and bready aroma, full bodied, alcohol hidden very well, smooth and velvety mouthfeel, finishes a little sweet, this is a great Belgian ale, very drinkable and tasty.

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Photo of Naerhu
2.87/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

750 ml bottle.
Appearance: Beautiful dark evil looking amber, with a brownish head and great lacing.
Aroma: Massive anise, ginger, minty hoppiness and brown sugar.
Taste: Hot alcohol not balanced with the malt. Sweet, bitter, and sour, and again no balance. Cloves, nutmeg and rough cinnamon.
I should have followed Venom's advice and spread my drinking of this over three hours, but I entirely lost interest. I was thinking it would have likely improved with exposure to air, but with all the other beers at the tasting, why bother?
Mouthfeel: A tad hot and and at the same time creamy.
Drinkability: Anything this unbalanced, and/or requiring three hours to grow on you in order to appreciate it is not drinkable to me.

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

Presentation: Classic looking 750ml brown glass bottle, tall dark and handsome with a very nice looking colorful label that invited me to pick this one up, its looks really classy, the dark black label, gold lettering and a lovely colorful Xmas scene, slightly different label to tat shown in the BA avatar. Thumbed cork is restrained in an all black steel wire & flat cap cage, the black flat cap has the Het Anker Coat of Arms in gold, the cork is also imprinted with this, which adds to the quality presentation. A small black paper neck label chokes the bulbous bottle top and just has a miniature version of the main neck label. The main black & gold label covers 270° of the circumference of the bottles body; apart from the colorful Xmas scene it includes information on the beer to the left and the importer to the right. Listed as Alc. 10% Vol. Excellent high quality presentation all round.

Appearance: I poured this into a freshly cleaned and rinsed Duvel Goblet. Immediately this poured it looked mightily impressive. A lovely smooth headed quickly but carefully from the controlled pour. Light tan brown it rested high in the glass. The body was a dark coppery brown with some ruby hints when artificially lit. Clear at first, only the last top-up introduced some of the sedimentary yeast, but I really didn’t care, it looked fantastic in the Duvel Goblet. Head remains throughout but slowly rescinds in depth, lacing is awesome.

Nose: Immediately as the cork came out, there was a strong whiff of liquorice at my desk. Instantly recognized, I love liquorice too….but once poured the nose developed a more complex character. Alcoholic malts, some anise bitterness, dark fruits, dates, plums, figs and brown sugar all help to create a beautifully enticing aroma. Superb!

Taste: Polished black liquorice underlies the thick carpet like entrance of malts and alcohol fill the entrance hallway and invites you to come in with a cheeky yet irresistible charm. I want to take the Stairs and get straight into the bedroom with this one! Sweetish malts at first, the alcohol acts as a solvent to deliver more liquorice again, figs and dark fruits with some peppery spices. Warming on the throat during the swallow, this is a real belly warmer once ingested. Has a dry alcohol warming liquorice finish that is a little raw at times.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly smooth, yet the alcohol adds some raw power to the feel in the finish. Even so, this leaves a luxurious Axminster Shagpile feel on the tongue as you sink into this as you would a waterbed. Solid yet controlled and finely dispersed carbonation give yet more body. Thick and fruity with a very Port like presence, an easy 4.5.

Drinkability: Well, I had the 750ml for a while, a phone call or two interrupted me, but yet I still managed to slowly sip and drink this one throughout the night.

Overall: Superb, excellent value for money Christmas Ale from Belgium and definitely worth picking some up for the Cellar, I suspect a year will take a little off of the alcoholic edge that it displays right now. Powerful and Fruity right now but I’m sure this will mellow into a beautifully smooth mature monster with 12 months cellaring under the belt.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark rum colored with a small beige ring of bubbles. Complex aromas; star anise, prune, gingerbread, an all-round malty and spicy smelling beer, even down to the subtle hopping which comes across herbal and minty. This is one syrupy muther of a beer. Good thing it is amply carbonated to keep the maltiness of the beer in check. It does retain a slickness on the tongue. Flavors abound similar to the aroma; but more molasses and brown sugar come through in its heavy maltiness. The finish gets drier and more medicinal as all the flavors meld together. A nice Christmas offering.

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

Glistening varnished wood look with a blistering tan head. A slick, not-quite-sweet assortment of licorice fragrances. Jagermeister, plum skins, dried roots, and cooked brown sugar highlight the aroma. Baked woodchips and sweetened caramel malt are initial notable flavors on the palate. Allspice and cardamom, some roasted chocolate, and rich, dark pumpernickel. Just spicy enough to fit the Xmas beer mold but not wild or outlandish. A solid holiday beer for anyone.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stopped by Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena yesterday and was like a kid in a candy store. Christmas Ales, foreign and domestic, graced the taps, among them this offering from Brouwerij Het Anker. I got a pint in a Grottenbier chalice (and got to keep the glass) as part of a Christmas special. Gouden Carolus Noël had a turbid mahogany color with a dense, creamy tan head that left great sheets of lace clinging to the glass. Very attractive.
The nose was an enticing mix of fruity sweetness, hearty malt notes, and a variety of spices. Plums, dates, and raisins represented the fruits while nutmeg, cinnamon, anise and, more faintly, some clove headed the spice list. The alcohol content barely registered with just a faint hint of how potent this Christmas brew was.
The taste was immediately sweet thanks to the flavors of candied plums and raisins all drizzled with caramel. Some bready malt flavor made this seem like a liquid Christmas cookie. Prominently figuring in the flavor parade were nutmeg and licorice. Cinnamon and clove played a supporting role and added to the wonderful complexity of this holiday beer. The anise taste built through the finish. The finish had a slightly peppery bite. The alcohol content made its presence felt with a warming burst in the throat and belly. The feel was full, rich and creamy.
Overall, this was a wonderful winter warmer, even on a warm afternoon in SoCal. Deliciously complex and great to look at, Gouden Carolus Noël is one holiday ale worth going to great lengths to try.

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

Mahogany in color with a creamy tan head. Nice lacing after each sip. The aroma is malty sweet and spicy. It has a anise and nutmeg aroma, along with a bit of mint. It has some oily, resiny aromas as well. The flavor is malty with the nutmeg and anise. It has a hidden Anchor OSA flavor to it. Kinda resiny and piney. It is smooth and creamy. It is medium-full in body and very easy drinking for its strength. Very nice.

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Photo of mickeymac
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
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 truthbrew
3.41/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2004 vintage, served at 54F. Pours a crimson with brown hints, unstable brown fluffy (but short lived) head. Dominate aroma is anise which almost covers the alcohol. I am not particularily fond of anise, but this beer did improve and it seemed to blend as the bottle slowly emptied (wow... 750ml of 10.5% abv can take a bit). Feels chewy thick in the mouthfeel. More anise on the exhale.

I am a fan of all other Het Anker beers, so hard to fault this for anything other than personal preference, which makes this review harder. Will review again in a few weeks then again in a year or two, but this I will need to warm up to a bit. A great candidate for cellaring and I'm sure that the strong anise will die down after a long cold conditioning.

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Photo of putnam
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed at 65 deg. F.
Mahogany liquid with reddish, sour tan-colored welts of foam on top. The aromas are a classically proportioned array of black breads, butter, birchroot, brown sugar, licorice, chestnuts and caramelized blue berries. On the palate it is quite hedonistic, with a clear, warming, alcoholic richness that glows like dying embers. Rising from this there is an array of spiced incense and perfumes that recall Turkish open markets: Cardamom, coffee, brandied raisins, tamarind paste and fried dough. Intermixed with this exotic rush of sensations, there is a thread of smoldering pine. A Russian has visited this Anatolian campfire it seems.
This is a gorgeous beer.

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Photo of Truh
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spied a partridge in a pear tree with this one on 11/26/2004. 10.5-oz.-looking stemmed glass pour at the right-on ACPH.

Just a hinted swirl of carbonation to begin, with more piling up on the edges. Claret, thick brown hue that echoes. Juicy plums, raisins, and juniper on nose, with a touch of port-like sweetness. Lovely malt gush with a brown sugar melt on the tongue. Lucious overall, and one I would gladly order up continuously throughout the holiday season, and beyond.

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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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