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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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BA SCORE
89
very good
484 Reviews
THE BROS
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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
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Reviews: 484 | Ratings: 838
Photo of russpowell
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle pours deep chesnut (garnet when held to the light) with 2 fingers of sand colored head. Very good lacing & head retention

S: Bannanas, iron, alcohol & breaddy notes

T: Chocolate, bannanas, cakeyness, & a kiss of earthy hops up front. Oak, caramel, tannins & pine follow. Fruitty notes come through as this warms (pears, peaches, & berrys) with mucho warmth. Finishes, dry,oaky, fruitty & with a little hint of bananna split, plus a little licorice aftertaste!

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, with a little chewyness

Super drinkability for the abv! This a interesting/complex, beautiful winter warmer that is helping fight off the chill here! One of the better x-mas begians I've tasted, If not the best

 736 characters

Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into my Pumking chalice. Dark brown in color with a thin, sticky head to it. Really nice lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a big dark fruit presence to it with notes of plum, fig and raisin all present. I get some notes of clove and anise to it as well. The spices are nicely balanced with the malty flavors. Nice aroma for a holiday spiced beer.

The taste follows up with some very rich and sweet dark fruit flavors. Fig and plum seem to lead the way. The spices are a little more reserved but I do get more of the clove and anise towards the finish. Enough bitterness comes out in the finish to keep the sweet dark fruits from becoming cloyingly sweet. It comes together very well and again the spices are nicely balanced with the malt flavors.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being about average for the style. Overall, I thought it was a very good holiday spiced beer. They didn't go overboard on the spices, which I appreciate. The dark fruit flavors were also particularly nice in it. It came together very well and is one of the better holiday spiced beers I've had in a while.

 1,133 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a brown color with about a finger and a half of off white foam. Moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, some bready malts, and booze. Maybe a hint of some spices as well.

t - Tastes mostly of dark fruits, especially raisins and dates.I also got a little bit of banana, as well as the taste of sweet malts and a tiny hint of booze, but not as much as in the smell. Pretty nice.

m - A sticky sweet taste with a medium body and little carbonation. A little alcohol taste to it but considering the ABV not too bad.

d - I thought this was an above average Belgian. I enjoyed the sweet smell and taste of dark fruits and sweet malts, and would definitely try this again.

 743 characters

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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff.

The beer appears dark chestnut brown with a formidable khaki head. Ample lacing and lasting head retention. The aroma offers malt, sweet spice, brown sugar, dark fruit, alcohol. Sweet breads, dark fruit, spices, malt, brown sugar, and Christmas cookies in the flavor. Quite sweet throughout - I am glad to be splitting this bottle. Licorice, candies, decadent holiday sweets, fruitcake. Complex and well done, though a bit cloying for my taste. The feel is thin to medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Overall, a bit too sweet, though well done and enjoyable. Best in small quantities.

 631 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mad Mex Robinson I'm going to say thanks to Nick, he's one of the bartenders/servers who has had experience working at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse. Needless to say I know he's a fan of Gouden Carolus Tripel and if he saw that they could get a keg of the Noel I'm sure he swayed somebody to make that decision. Appearance: Deep ruby brown light white bubbly effervescent head scattered lacing on the chalice. Aroma: Deep plum spiced nutmeg and other chirstmas spices infused with warming alcohol fruit notes of raisins and apples, nice. Taste: Strong sweetness layers of spice, fruit, and alcohol complexities. Not quite as solid as it has been in the bottle, but damn good nonetheless one of the best Belgian Christmas offerings. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied solid carbonation effervescent tickles the palate a bit. Drinkability: A winter warmer of a devine caliber draft was an experience definitely amazing in the bottle but still great flavorful experience on tap.

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Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml cage-corked bottle:

Pours hazed brown with a tan head that descends to a patch.

The smell is of caramel candy, vanilla, and alcohol.

The taste is of caramel candy, vanilla, and a subtle apple/pear fruitiness. Very sweet - almost sticky.

It has a thickish medium body. A bit syrupy.

A bit too sweet, boozy and almost too syrupy for me to really enjoy this one too much. It has a nice enough sweet candy, with a bit of a fruity character for slow sipping, but too sweet for the whole thing - Glad to have shared it.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2009 9 9 stamped bottle resembling a nice dark dark brown giving off a great dark mahogony hue around edges, big head and retention.

Fascinating smell of chewy licorice and a floral/perfume quality. Sometimes it even smells like a candied rose or something. Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and dark spices.

Great sweet nutmeg and hard candy palate with a great mouthfeel that seems perfectly balance between body (not wet or syrupy) and afterfinish that is noticeable but not overpowering. Highly alcohol masked as well for 10.5

Drinkability is very desirable, but truly a Christmas beer. I can't see myself having this in July when it's 90 degrees out of course ;) but... why would you want to ;)

 709 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Freshly tapped in a Gouden Carolus chalice.
Cast a dusky magenta, showing lighter crimson at the edges.
Slim beige head.

Gorgeous aroma. Sweetness. Cocoa. Dark fruit. Creamy. A raisin wrapped in chocolate, dipped in brandy, set on fire. Wine-like, at times.

Slick, sweet and delicious on the tongue. Slips through the mouth and tickles the senses. Warm, and wonderful. Molasses, brown sugar, figs, and carob. Then the booze speaks up. And I agree with everything it's saying.

Long, warming finish. Never too hot, never too sweet, just right.
Spice + fruit + magical Belgian malt and yeast = perfection.
Yum meets yum.
This is just right for tonight. It's what 3 below? Holy Cow!
I have half a mind to stay right here and finish the keg. Sounds like a plan...

 763 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.

 769 characters

Photo of Tone
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of mint, spice, slight hop, sweet malt, and slight licorice. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of spice, slight sweet malt, cream, licorice, and hint of yeast. Overall, an interesting beer - good appearance, aroma, and blend.

 420 characters

Photo of Gavage
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a cloudy brown color with a one finger head. The head slowly falls to a spotty surface foam. Some spotty lacing develops through the drink.

Smell: spices, caramels, and alcohol.

Taste: this beer is flavor packed and fits the season it is brewed for. Cinammon, raisins, brown sugar, caramel, ripe plums, hints of licorice, yeast, and alcohol are neatly balanced with a spicy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium to heavy in body. Lightly crisp at the start with a long smooth finish of the sugary sweetness, spiciness and alcohol.

Drinkability: this is a wonderful "sittin' by the fire" sipping type of beer. I finished the bottle in a little over an hour. Worth seeking this out.

 703 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark brown color with a 1/4" tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a dry, yet quite fruity scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with many spices and a yeasty finish. The taste is good. It has a sweet and fruity malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry, creamy, and a bit warm. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good brew. It has excellent flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

 498 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.62/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Two year old cellared bottle. Poured into an Ommegang flute. Pours a very dark red brown. Half finger fine light tan head with good retention and nice lacing. Looks good. Aroma of dark fruits, sweet dark malt, cherry and brown sugar with the dark sugar dominant. Delicious dark and light fruit, malt with the typical aged malt component. The sour fruit flavor has attenuated and blended in the the dark fruits and dark malts. Nicely integrated now. Full bodied and creamy, complex and a delight to drink. This two year old aged bottle is still an excellent strong dark. I'm not sure if it has improved, but it doesn't matter much.

 630 characters

Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a large tan head. The first aroma is nothing but licorice, which is not a smell I really enjoy. As the beer airs out a bit, I get some prunes, cherries and Belgian yeast notes.

The flavor is also very heavy on the licorice. I also get a little roasted malt, caramel malt, cherries, prunes, yeast, brown sugar and some alcohol. Overall, the licorice is dominant.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 445 characters

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

750ml bottle
Caged/Corked

Been sitting on this one for over a year.

Poured into a tulip a nice brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, some nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty with some yeast, figs, raisins, plums, and some nice tones of caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, very nice tones of dark fruit and caramel. Medium body, a nice balance/complex brew. Very drinkable, another awesome brew from these guy's, highly recommended.

 484 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked & caged bottle 2008 version. I shared this one with some friends as I thought it would be a chore to kill the whole bottle. Into a snifter.

A-Gouden Carolus Noel pours out a semi thick looking syrup. It has a dark brown to mahogany/copper like color. A very weak head tries it's best to even reach 1/2 of an inch in height but it doesent have the legs to achieve it. Maybe a bad bottle?

S- A whole lot of dark fruits including those in the citrus category. Ripe banana % spicy yeast. Some figs, dates and a lot of prunes in the nose. As it warms some candy like gum comes up as well as spices.

T- Follows the smell with the prunes overshadowing the banana. Some raisins and caramel with a pinch of chocolate. Nutmeg and cinnamon and toasted malts. A lot of sweet sugars with some cherry & licorice in the finish.

M- Light to medium bodied with some carb make this one an easy drinker. This is a little flat at times and could be more lively. A bit of alcohol in the mouth plus some warming effects.

D- At 10.5% this one's a sipper for sure and i'm glad i shared the bottle as I probably would not have finished this alone. Not the best BSDA but worth a shot. The balance of the flavors could improve.

 1,219 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark, murky amber brown brew, poured into a Gouden Carolus chalice. Tightly beaded off white head and leaves a bit of lace.

Smell: Some hops, licorice, Christmas spices. All are quite apparent in a fairly strong aroma.

Taste: Decidedly malty, with some brown sugar, date and fig tones. Aniseed like spice. Black licorice is also a dominant flavor coupled with the spices.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, also has a lingering spicy finish and the flavors stick with you.

Drinkability: A warming winter offering from Gouden Carolus. The black licorice is a love it or hate it thing, and is the main flavor in the beer. Would go nice with some gingerbread cookies.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As I pop the cork on the 750 a blast of raisin aroma emanates form the bottle. Plum aromas mixed with alcoholic rum like notes escape as I pour this lightly hazy amber-brown beer. A dense tan to light brown head tops the Noël. There are some notes of dried fig in the aroma as well, overall a phenomenally enticing aroma to this beer, and I have yet to taste it.

The taste; a rich brew, though light bodied given its 10.5% alcohol by volume, by no means light though. There is some definite spiciness here, seems like some coriander along with some other spices have been used, though because this beer is so rich and fruity it may just be the Belgian yeast character. This beer finishes with a definite alcoholic bite, though it is not overbearing and goes well with the spice notes. Lightly sweet with raisin and other dark fruit notes are in the fore front of this beer. There is no real bitterness, the spices and alcohol counter-point the sweetness and fruity flavors. This beer is incredibly good, and incredibly under-rated. I am certainly going to get a couple more bottles of this to age, next winter these could be stunning. This is just a damn good winter seasonal beer, certainly the best I have had yet this year.

 1,230 characters

Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a raisins, dark friluit and some pine. Estery as well.

The taste consisted of a sweet caramel, raisin, candy sugar and a touch of alcohol.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty and complex strong ale.

 347 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gouden Carolus Noël conceals its Christmas cheer. At a glance it might appear dismal and dusky, like a cold winter night, but if you hold it right up into the light you'll see that it is in fact bedecked in a glinty scarlet red wrapping. Its head, though much dissipated, is just like a garland wreath and steadily remains tightly knit around the beer's perimeter.

Belgian Strong Dark Ales - the good ones, anyhow - all smell of spice and sweet malt and yeasty dried fruit-like esters. This has all those qualities as well as something extra. There is the distinct scent of black licorice (the alcohol combines to make it resemble a throat lozenge); if anise wasn't used in the recipe I'd be shocked. The aroma, I finally realize, smells exactly like how plum pudding tastes - how appropriate for a Christmas beer!

Every Het Anker beer I've tried to date has tasted fantastic - this one included. Once again, plum pudding makes a convenient way of summing it up. To leave it at that, however, would be being too simplistic; the beer is layered with flavour. A gift basket of spices - anise, coriander, clove, ginger root - spruces up the taste of brown sugar-coated roasted yams. Sweet, toffee-ish malts and dark fruits are also ever present.

This thing has legs - it keeps running from flavour to flavour. The mouthfeel, too, has plenty of dimension; it shifts between sticky-sweet and spicy. It's like drinking caramelized brown sugar and a liquefied plum pudding. The texture is lush and the alcohol procures a Grand Marnier-like aftertaste. It will warm your holiday spirit but isn't likely to burn it.

Of all of Belgium's great breweries I'd have to say that Het Anker has to be one of the greatest. And while I recognize this as just my opinion, I'd leave it up to anyone to try this Noël beer (or their Tripel or their Classic or their Cuvee de Keiser, etc) and try and argue me. I just assume the town of Mechelen has a traditional Christmas carol that makes some mention of this beer - because if it doesn't already, it definitely should.

 2,056 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 ML bottle picked up at the Boise Coop for $4.75; poured into my standard red wine glass.

Pours a deep burgandy red with a nice 3/4 inch lite tan head. Crystal clear and with no yeast haze (the bottle says "refermented in the bottle, I don't believe it") and absolutely no yeast left in the bottle.

Aromas of fruitcake and spices ... almond cake ... make that rum cake, but all of that plays a second fiddle to the sweetness and the "yeastiness".

Wow, I must start paying better attention to Belgian Holiday brews .... this is really good .... really really good. Definately a sipper, but no reason to hold that against it. Flavor is complex and at the same time all over the place ... it bounces all over your tounge. Sweet, peppery ... I get ginger and a little sweet orange peel.... maybe a little metallic but I could be imagining things. I can't say it enough ... big and uniting fruitiness ... plums, cherries and applesauce. Finishes enough oddly enough with a long but lite and lingering young port. Nice carbonation, but possibly a little aggressive; sorta lightly rips the flavors away, I think it would be fine with a slightly less carbonation level.

Don't know what to say about this brewing company, I remember loving their amber and triple... but this was something pretty special. I will probably pick up a 4-pack for the cellar even though I don't believed they're bottle conditioned.

 1,407 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a dark mahogany, burnt umber colour, with a nice finger of off-tan head, good Brussels lace.

S: Definite candy sugar, candied fruit, butterum candy, sweet smelling if you get my drift.

T: Heavy notes of brown sugar and characteristic Belgian fruit esters. Chocolate covered cherries, orange marmalade, molasses and raisins are clearly evident. Clear Belgian flavour and character.

M: Smooth and silky, not terribly robust, but it's there for sure. Very soft carbonation.

D: Way too drinkable for it's size, great flavour, this beer could be dangerous at a Christmas party.

 611 characters

Photo of flagmantho
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip. My bottle indicates 10% ABV rather than the above-noted 10.5%.

Appearance: deep, rich, hazy brown with one finger of tenacious light tan foam head. Quite attractive.

Smell: sweet, rich & complex dark fruity malt aromas: plum, loose tobacco, cherry, pear; quite a delicious aroma indeed.

Taste: flavor has much of those aforementioned characteristics but is at the same time brighter and mustier. The flavor starts off with a bit of a dusty flatness and then morphs into a brighter (though still understated) tartness at the side of the tongue. Both of these states readily complement and amplify the tasty fruit flavors. I'm loving this brew.

Mouthfeel: plenty of body and an extremely smooth, well-crafted creaminess. An excellent experience.

Drinkability: I've a hard choice here, as it is hard for me to rate something with 10+% ABV as very drinkable. But I love the flavor, so here goes: I would go out of my way to have this beer again.

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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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