Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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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 ChillMike
3.02/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up on sale at BevMo, they were trying to get rid of some of their holiday brews so I couldn't resist.

A: Very opaque mulberry red color that has a nice medium sized tan head that recedes quite quickly but leaves a nice bit of lacing around the glass.

S: Scents of cloves, bananas, brown sugar and almost a wine-ish alcohol smell. Almost reminds me of Glühwein you'd have during Christmas time at a German outdoor market.

T: Very sweet taste, overly sweet, wow like tons of sugar sweet. A bit of some spice, but I can't seem to get passed the sweetness of it, it's like drinking bubblegum juice that has been saturated with more sugar. Then again it does have an oddly sour type taste as well. Sweet and sour should be reserved for chicken not Belgians.

D: Nothing too drinkable to me about this beer, it's a bit pricey, the taste is just a bit too off for me and the alcohol a bit much.

MF:Kind of a thin body but pretty good for the style.

Overall I just didn't really care for this one too much, it's a shame I was really looking forward this one as I usually really enjoy winter Belgians.

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Photo of jeremy13586
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bottle from this past Christmas that I found tucked away.

The color was a very deep amber, with ruby around the edges. The head was a shade light of khaki and it disappear rather quickly.

I didn't get too much in the nose other than spice and alcohol. Some faint dark fruits.

Spicy and herbal. Some mint and booze. A bit of a sweet backbone. A bit muddy. Finishes with the slightest hint of chocolate.

Pretty smooth overall. Medium bodied.

I've had this in years past, but found it pretty unexciting this time around. I've only had it on draft before and found it to be more enjoyable in that format (or at least from what I can remember). I'll have to buy and drink a fresh bottle next winter and see how it compares.

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Photo of beerking1
4.26/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, almost opaque, until raised to the light, when beautiful garnet highlights shine through. Head is huge, leaving a tan lace on the glass with each sip. Aroma is dark malt, candi suger and loads of dark fruit, including figs, dates and even some figgy pudding. Alcohol notes shine through in aroma. Flavor reveals more candi sugar, alcohol and dark fruits. Warming all the way down, leaving rich dark chocolate aftertaste. Body is suitably light for a Belgian style beer.

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Photo of scottyb88
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a very dark, almost black, cloudy brown with a really nice head and decent lacing

S-brown sugar, pecan, a little bit of spice like nutmeg or cinnamon, apple skin, a doughy smell as well, some raisin

T-up front sweetness with a dry back end; apple skin soaked in brown sugar syrup with pecans; the spice, whatever it is, is faint-might become more noticeable as it warms; it's well balanced, but doesn't pop out at me

M-a little more carbonated than expected, but fairly smooth with pleasant aftertaste

O-a solid beglain dark ale with spices. Its dangerously drinkable at 10%. Either its so well balanced out, or I can't detect it as easily anymore. I have other favorites out there when it comes to xmas ales (corsendonck probably still being my favorite), but this holds up pretty well. A bit disappointed, however, being that I really enjoyed this brewery's kaiser blue I had too high expectations

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

a: pours a hazy, molasses colored ruby with bountiful off-white head that patiently subsides to cake the sides of the glass...

s: richly sweet, i'm reminded almost of bubble gum in the yeast and malt combination, light and fresh florals..

t: sappy sweet in taste, on the backend the malts again meld into the breadiness of the yeast...

m: very smooth and sweet on the palate, balanced carbonation...

d: surprisingly light and refreshing given the +10% alc. content, this brew is a nice treat that i wouldn't mind trying again...

salud!

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Photo of davidt
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark ruby-brown with a small head. The aroma is sweet malt and fruity. The taste is slightly sweet malt, with dark fruits and complex spices and molasses. Nice mouth feel and warming when swallowed. We enjoyed this as our Christmas Eve beer. The high ABC went down very smoothly.

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Photo of TMB0424
3.54/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap @ blind tiger ale house.

Poured a dark ruby body with a slight off white head. Disappeared very quickly into a small cap, leaving very light lacing along the tulip.

Aroma is extremely sweet and nice smelling. Sugary caramel, molasses, gingerbread, and tons of cinnamon. Honey-coated plums lurk in the background. Extremely nice smelling - the cinnamon is very pleasing.

It tastes pretty much how it smells - although sweeter, which is not a good thing. The cinnamon aroma takes somewhat of a backseat to the honey coated dark fruit and molasses, and it's just too sweet. It's nice to sip on (it went well with my lunch there) but it just got old halfway through the glass because of its intense sweetness.

Mouthfeel is decent, as it has somewhat of a soda-like feel to it. Very odd. It's full bodied with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. This is not a poor brew by any means, as it definitely has one of the more unique and pleasing aromas I've encountered recently. It's just not my thing, way too sweet. The mouthfeel is kind of "off" as well.

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.58/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Toronado SF in December, and now in a bottle that I purchased from Healthy Spirits. I've been looking for this one for a while.

Served it into a goblet for myself and a large Duvel tulip for a friend. Head looks phenomenal in the tulip, but not so great in the goblet. Beautiful dark black with ruby highlights.

Smell is subtle but molasses, figs, and raisins are detectable.

Taste is spicy up front, followed by bananas, chocolate cake, and some ripe fruit, spice on the exit, too. Very complex and tasty.

Much smoother than Cuvee VDK, which is also very good. But this is creamy and leaves only a slight tingle on the tongue. Despite the high a.b.v., I'd still love to drink these all night. Just wish it was easier to find.

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Photo of rustymoore
3.38/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours an deep brown with large creamy tan that seems to last forever with excellent lacing. Easily best part about this beer.

S: Interesting but nothing that could really pick out...I think there might be too much going on in the aroma.

T: Ok but really just tastes more like a mediocre Belgian rather than much of a Christmas beer. Very sweet (too much so in my opinion) somewhat watery with several fruit notes coming through as well as caramel.

M: Somewhat flat after I expected a good amount of carbonation.

D: Definitely wouldn't recommend more than a sampling of this...too sweet.

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Photo of farHillsBrewer
3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tasted 3 Belgian Christmas Ales and prefered this one.
The color was reddish brown with a slight brownish head.
The taste was quite complex: bread pudding, plums, caramel, cinnamon and just the barest trace of alcohol.
Wonderful warming mouthfeel and quite drinkable.
After the other 2 I tried, I wanted another of these.

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Photo of goblet
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the bottles size is 750ml with a nice christmasy label with a date of 8/21/2010 popped the cork and gave it a pour into my goblet.

Appearance:nice fadeing fast frothy head ,little retention time the color is a deep brown with reddish highlights, after a few sips got specks of lacing .

smell:lots of malt and whisky alcohol aroma with fruits perhap prunes and figs ,very little hops are evident in this brew ,some spicy grains.

Taste: the whisky/scotch alcohol flavor jumps out at you, an odd blend of maltiness some weird spice that i can`t quite place .it`s complex and all over the place ,some dark fruit some grains,interesting.

Mouthfeel:medium body and malty and very spicy feel on the palate,very complex with alot of alcohol after taste .

Drinkability:it`s very complex and open to alot of interpretation ,is it christmasy ? i don`t know, maybe with a fruit cake but that has alot to say .

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Photo of wardough
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the local YardHouse.

Overall-awesome. A great sipper on a cold winter night.
A: Poured on tap into a goblet. about 1/2 in head that disperses to lacing.
S: Figs, raisins, cognac. It's a party down there. Jump on in.
T: It's definitely a party. The alcohol warms you up, followed by the sweet taste of figs and raisins.
M: Heavy mouthfeel. Very light carbonation.
D: I drank a few of these and they went down with ease. For the style, very easy to drink.

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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 ROMER79
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter 2007 bottle

The pour was a nice one, a nice dark brown with a thick fluffy three finger head with great retention. The head laces the glass for a good while. Right off the bat I could catch caramel and chocolate in my first sniff. There may even be hints of nuts and fruit, but I definitely caught the alcohol fragrance. It tasted almost like chocolate cake with caramel and roasted malts at first, but after a few sips I caught the strong alcoholic after notes. The mouthfeel is chewy and thick and drinkability is good, but this is definitely a beer to sip and enjoy.

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Photo of Agent1
4.66/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A brewery with experience. Let's see what this seasonal ale has to offer. With maybe a surprise ending at the end??

....

Appearance - A very dark, stern ale with amazing head retention. Faint, strong amber/ deep ruby coloration around the edges of my Gouden Carolus glass (when light manages to get through). An off-white, beige head with a slightly brown hue. Very rich and creamy. Thick head.

Smell - Strong notes of cherry, dark malts, light woodsy aroma with possibly even whiskey. Dark fruits with a light hop on the nose. Not much though. Quite spicy and sugary. Without tasting, it hints at being very sweet. Anise (a common trait of almost all Het Anker products) and dark, dried figs.

Taste - Smoke, whiskey/ scotch, ripe cherries, anise (black liquorice flavors), wood and barrel (this beer is definitely casked in something) with plenty of herbs and spices (I cannot seem to figure out which, and it's driving me nuts!). Hints of hops. Maybe traces of cinnamon, although very subtle. The alcohol, sugars and herb notes almost create the impression of cinnamon. This is definitely not as balanced as other Het Anker recipes, but it is still overwhelming delicious and impressive. A tad on the sugary side, but hell, it's Christmas!! This is one to bust out and overload on sweets!

Mouthfeel - The sugars and smokey notes really create a massive PUNCH here. After only one glass I am feeling this. A staunch kick-off to Christmas for sure. This is smooth and sweet. Again, a tad on the sugary side and the alcohol isn't fully hidden. But I am willing to cut this some slack being it's Christmas and the rum and the scotch are a-flowin'.

Overall - If you are not a fan of Christmas treats and toothaches, then perhaps this is not for you. A plethora of sweet notes, whiskey (wood and smoke), brown sugar and cherries with anise. As far as brewing goes, I am fairly confident that this is the Classic aged in wood barrels each year. I am not entirely sure if it is scotch or whiskey, but nonetheless, it is aged and perhaps a few more ingredients are thrown in as well. Amazing and festive. Love this beer!

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Photo of nerdrocker101
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with ruby hedges. The head is tan and lays on the body like a blanket of dirty snow. Lacing linger mostly at the ring but become sparse below the surface.

The nose is spicy with hints of mint. An odd description I know, but nothing I haven't experienced before and certainly not a turnoff.

Sugary and malty. Like some sort of holiday pudding or bread. Somewhat spicy with an almost dry characteristic like cinnamon gives off.

Warming with a medium-full body. Not too bubbly, but enough to accentuate the warmth of this brew.

Very good Christmas ale. This would make an excellent accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner.

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Photo of veggiemafia
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Fathead's in a goblet.

Good dark ruddy reddish black with some remnant of a light bone colored head. Almost no lacing.

Smell is nice, rum, cherries, honey, and a good bit of alcohol. The alcohol has a character like bourbon or something.

Taste is big on a few things to me, cherries, plums, honey and alcohol. The cherry component though tastes kind of sour, like wild cherries, but it tastes somewhat artificial, and I thought it was just me, but my buddy said the same thing when he tried it. It's kind of like whatever artificial cherry flavor they add to Pepsi.

Mouthfeel is substantial and sticky, pretty nice, and carbonation really makes a pleasant appearance when you take a big sip.

I probably couldn't have more than a couple of these, that cherry thing is weeeeird.

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Photo of Vec2267
4.39/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - murky brown, ample tan foam that comes back to life with a swirl, nice lace

S - anise, sugar, dark fruits (raisin), orange, alcohol - incredibly aromatic

T - anise dominates, molasses/brown sugar, raisin/figs, cinnamon, alcohol not evident - very complex - lots of dark fruit flavors

M - lush, rich, enough effervescence to not become syrupy

O - fruitcake in a bottle - everything from Het Anker is a malt bomb - this is no exception, but there is a ton of spice to provide balance and contrast - the complexity is what makes this beer

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Photo of Weissenheimer
3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

With its very dark brown color and deep reddish highlights, this beer reminds me of Corsendonk Christmas Ale. It has a large, deep fawn head with a melted marshmallow sheen. It leaves sparse, sudsy spatters of lacing on the glass as I drink. The smell is heavy with licorice and anise, and the first taste almost bowls me over with them. The finish contains lots of molasses; it's not very sweet molasses, but neither is it bitter like the Anchor OSA. I think that's the best thing this beer has going for it: it's heavy, but it toes the line between bitter and sweet so well that it manages not to be overly cloying.

It takes me a lot of examination to figure out the procession of tastes in this one, mostly because the licorice/anise wallop covers up some of the secondary tastes. The first stage is well-rounded, and when I look beyond the blast of licorice I see that this comes from the overtones of bitter caramel and syrupy fruitiness. The second stage is highly carbonated and laden with anise. The finish is extremely dry and tingly, with a smoldering finish way on the back of my tongue. Again, there's some molasses in there, but it's almost smoky in its texture. It's also tangy but not overly sugary or cloying; it reminds me of bitter apricots. The bottle says that it ages well, and given the tastes I just experienced I'll bet that's true. I plan to get a few bottles of this and open them next year to see if the hard edges on this beer have been rounded out. If so, it will move up in my estimation from very good to excellent.

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Photo of Adamthome1
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1pt 9.4 oz bottle; corked bottle opens with similar pressure to champagne, pours a very nice 3 fingered head (and that was with a slow pour, don't pour this one too fast!). label: 9/16/2010, batch 1076

Darker than expected; almost black, but I can see some light through my glass, head retention is great and the head is one of the thicket heads you will find.

Smells earthy, sweet - like granny smith apples, grassy, very typical Belgian style smell

Black liquorish hits right away, it's a roasty, dark flavor, root beer, some stout caramel dark hints, and surprisingly the 10.5% alcohol is very prevalent, I was expecting it to be masked well. Aftertaste is very warm, great winter ale, I am having mine late this year. There is a metallic character that's different, maybe undesirable to some but I am used to it from some of the eastern European beers I prefer.

Body is very creamy and rich. If black liquorish wasn't so dominant I would really like this beer. Slightly above average though, not bad for the $3 discount bin at my local Hy-Vee Spirit shot...This is one to share with a friend, you're basically drinking 3.5 normal beers given the bottle size and alcohol content.

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Photo of zuggy9
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love this Belgian ale. It pours dark coppery-brown, with a nice beige head and great lacing. The smell is rich and strong. A lot of malt and fruit is apparent, with some sharp qualities. The taste is rich also, with a dense sweetness mixed with some fruit. It's quite creamy and is very full bodied. Very drinkable, despite knocking you for a loop with the 10.5% ABV. I can't wait for next season!

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Photo of DPFRD
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark, nearly opaque, coffee hued head.

S- Spicy and boozy with some sweet malty aromas.

T- Sweet and malty, heavy phenol action. Some raisin dark cherry and licorice notes prevail. Kind of winey.

M- Medium to heavy body, mild carbonation.

D- Great brew. A bit sweet, but the quality of this brew is incredible and it is a true experience for the palette.

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Photo of adrock7309
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 2010 bottle i picked up at Four Firkins into a small Chimay goblet.

Head was small and what little was there faded quickly.

Aroma was typical belgian with some bready yeast, dark fruit, cherry, and plenty of candied banana. There was also some mild spice.

Flavor early on was mostly dark fruit and bananas. As it warmed the banana flavor faded slightly and a ton of koolaid like cherry introduced itself. I was patient with this beer as I thought it would be more quad like and less fruit. Overall i was satisfied but wouldnt buy it again.

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Photo of Hobbz
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this delicious beer on tap recently at the Brickskeller in DC. Was very much surprised to see it on tap, especially since I only had come across bottles when recently in the Bierlands of Belgium.

Drained from tap into appropriate glasses with full finger foam with the deep dark brown beer settling in nicely below. By the time these glasses were brought down below to the keller much of the suds had subsided - this is a 10+ percenter, after all...

The aroma was full-bodied candy-malt with also big nose of licorice and minty shades; in background, the age-old yet subtle yeast-bite.

The taste really was like candied-beer in a glass, matched with bold beer alcohol and perceptions of it hitting quite substantially (did someone mention schapps? well, gladly a strech). Yet all in all with each sip being more like a medium sized gulp, this seasonal truly is a tasty and drinkable beer. I really also liked the seemingly higher levels of carbonation in this one. Besides the above taste profiles were friuty and spicy notes (plums, anise - maybe coriander).

Enjoyed every last drop.

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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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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 478 ratings.
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