Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker

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

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Reviews: 479 | Ratings: 829
Photo of jdhilt
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two-fingered creamy white head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Cloudy mahogany color. Strong carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Raisin/plum nose. Flavor - sweet raisin, caramel and spices, high ABV is noticeable. Nice Christmas ale. 750ml bottle, gift from Liquid Solutions Oregon City Or.

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Photo of corby112
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a large forhty head. Very malty, spicy aroma with hints of dark fruit, chocolate and pepper. Sweet matly alcohol taste up front with a dry, peppery finish with hints of raisin and dark cherries.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark mahogany color with a small dirty cap

S: Black liquorice comes off with some hints at spice, fruits

T: Blacl liquorice is dominant, not over the top but the dominant flavor. Some carame, spice, dark and medium fruits

M: Nice and subtle, not to sweet, no carbonation issues

D: Average. Interesting

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Photo of rudzud
3.61/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken at the Armsby Abbey's yearly Belgian Christmas on 12/15.

*2008 Vintage*

A - Nice dark mahongany pour with a one finger head that is super thick leaving massive side lacing along with big thick clumps atop the brew.

S - Mostly subdued muted notes of dark fruits and licorice. Really nice sugar notes.

T - Powerful almost salty fruit notes. Kind of weird but theres a light olive and prune/dark fruit notes. Very random flavours with that salty interplay but there is some nice strong earth notes.

M - Light body with low carbonation. Not syrupy at all. Just feels great on the tongue.

D - Tastes really good but that odd saltyness throws me off. Light mouthfeel is good but some aspects of this dark ale could be better.

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Photo of wl0307
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As a revisit, this is the 7th beer on my 2008-9 Belgian Winter Ale tasting "panel"; no freshness info. is provided on the label/bottle, served just cool, not chilled, in Hapkin's tulip-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: pours a deep mahogany hue with very moderate steams of carbonation and a huge dark beige froth that sustains remarkably well, leaving untidy lacing all round as it finally dissipates... Considering how clear the liquid and the bottle are, I suspect this ale might be filtered rather than bottle-conditioned?
S: utterly aromatic, with lots of caramelised apples, overripe black plums, and sweet herb-tea to ride on top of a deeper layer of jammy dark fruits/black-berries, hawthorn-fruit candy, highly fruit estery notes, black-sugary bitter-sweetness with a touch of treacle. Thickly fruity, showing a great depth and body already on the nose, but never alcoholic or sharply estery.
T: a smooth and lubricating swallow of syrupy black malts, jammy black/blue-berries, raisins, plus mild spiciness (like a treacle fruit-cake flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and powdered licorice), is subtly balanced by a mixed herbal essence like black herb syrup plus an intriguing flow of flowery/grapey fragrance (almost like the Muscat grape). Lightly oily in the finish, but not thick or cloying at all due to the contribution of a deepening bitter-sweet herbal touch from hops and yeastiness.
M&D: incredibly smooth on the palate with a lubricating mouthfeel and very little carbonation, this is a dangerously drinkable X'mas ale that has a 110% flavour and body to offer than meets the "tongue"... The overall complexity is decent, but somehow the sweet side of the story does manage to dominate the second part of the mouthfeel and renders an eventually, slightly sour-fruity edge like all sweeties. Apart from this, I have no complaint at all about this ale.

* Tasting Date: 07/06/06
Coming in a 330ml brown bottle, BB 09/08/08, served lightly-chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.
4 A: deep dark ruby hue, creamy but restrained layer of off-white head, slowly settling down and leaving very tight lacing.
4 S: deeply perfumy fruit-esters and sticky sweet fruits (ripe black cherries+fig jam+raisins+banana-oil yeasty), slightly alc. winey, but less syrupy than the tap version; an assertive, thickly-textured caramely maltiness stays firmly in the background, laced with a touch of creamy coconut-milk and burned palm-sugar. A touch too sweet to my liking, but not cloying by any means.
4 T: a mildly sour-sweet raisiny flavour comes along with plenty of preserved fruits upfront; the ensuing profound dark-malty overtone comes rather light, neither heavy nor sticky on the palate; gradually a semi-dryish sweet undertone of dried fruits, licorice and yeasts develops, leaving a faint trace of warming alc. lurking deep down the throat.
5 M&4.5 D: incre...dibly smooth and light on the mouthfeel, where the ultra-subtle carbonation is balanced well with the velvety-smooth texture and a slightly tangy kickback as a healthy balancer. Overall, not terribly complex, but this bottled-version outperforms the tap version by a mile, for its delicate body and balance, easily tricking one (me, at least) to believe it's a 7-8%abv.(at most) dark ale. Extre...mely dan...gerously drinkable it is, yet utterly enjoyable be it X'mas, Easter, Chinese New Year, summer solstice, or whichever else occasion.... Cheers!!

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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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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)
A- This beer has a deep dense brown body with a fizzy sounding light tan creamy head that beads lacing on the glass with each sip. There is a sea of microbubbles that glide up the side of the glass.
S- This beer has a brown sugar aroma with hints of cider and a slight woody note that takes on more of a cardboard quality as it warms but in a pleasant way.
T- The slightly sweet dark toffee flavor has brown sugar notes and some brown malt qualities about it with a soft alcohol note. The dry caramel flavor blends with a cider hint and a dry spice flavor in the finish grows as the beer warms but still remains soft and mysterious.
M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a very fine fizz that fills out the mouthfeel with each swallow. There is no real alcohol heat noticed.
D- This beer has a dry but fruity quality to the flavor and it rich but well blended in its complexity with flavors working well together. The alcohol is very well hidden.

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

Poured in 10oz glass and shared with some friends. Poured a clean, clear reddish mahogany with a tall fluffy tan head that had very good retention and surprisingly light lacing.

The aroma was a very pleasing blend of malt, yeast and spices.The taste didn't have as much of a yeast taste, but the solid malt foundation supports the spiciness nicely.

The body was a bit lighter than I expected, but was very crisp with a dry finish. Drinkability was excellent, I may go grab a couple more bottles of this.

Overall, a very nice beer. Worth seeking out.

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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 Haybeerman
3.15/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown color; a little ruby on the edges. Poured a 2 finger tan head that dissipated to a bubbly skim. Patches of lace dotted the glass.

S: Caramel, candi sugar and spice. Plenty of alcohol.

T: Dark fruit and alcohol up front; a it like cough syrup. More malt character as the beer warmed. Dry and hot.

M: Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. Warming alcohol.

D: Between the sharp sweetness and the alcohol I didn't find it very drinkable.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle - thanks to iguenard for this one

Appearance - The beer pours a dark brown colour with a huge size frothy dark beige coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some really good lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 7 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, raisins, all spice, licorice

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a low amount of carbonation and it feels very creamy on the tongue. I can taste malts, raisins and licorice. There is also an earthiness and some notes of all spice. It ends with a malty dark fruit aftertaste.

Overall – You'd never know this beer had 10% alcohol. My bottle was best before Nov 2011, so I'm assuming it's been aged to some extent. It's so smooth and delicious. It's a perfect sipping beer for the holidays/colder weather.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into corsendonk chalice on aug24 2009

A dark brownish amber when held up too light, fast falling three finger head that leaves a fair amount of lace from nothing more then a film of bubbles

S lots of spices and over-ripe banana, i smell booze but not the 10.5% i see on the bottle.

T different but good, as it smells but much more. I get some brown sugar/caramel, dark fruits and licorice. The booze i could smell is there but not as strong. Interesting indeed

M not too thick, good carbonation about what i hoped for

D overall i was happy with this beer, pretty easy too drink and well worth trying

This one kept me interested, i found myself taking sip after sip trying too place each taste. although i found it unusual, i must admit it grew on me as i got too know it.

(The third time I've had to edit this review before i finished the bottle) as it warms the flavors really come through and add to its complexity. Please don't drink this cold!!

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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 ppoitras
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
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 barczar
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought 2 years ago, probably got 3 or more years on it.

Pours an opaque deep brown with a dense, frothy khaki head that lingers as a thin layer of foam.

Rum-soaked date nut bread overwhelms the initial aroma. Reminds me exactly of Christmas at grandma's. Notes of raisins and treacle emerge.

Flavor is rife with dark fruit character. Prunes, dates, booze, figs, plums, and bruised cherries underlie a cloyingly sweet, candi sugar backbone. Cola comes to mind in subsequent sips.

Body is smooth and rich, fairly full, with minimal carbonation.

Sweeter than I had hoped, but the complex ester character is phenomenal. Still boozy and warming, this could probably age a few more years. Some oxidized sherry notes would counter the sweetness well, if they developed. The longer this beer lingered open, the better it got. Slightly tart sherry notes came out more, making it much less cloying.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First beer of my Beer Nutz flight 5oz pour was $2.75

A - Very dark hazy brown with some tan colored head. Lacing is and head is nice on this one.

S - Smells of typical Belgium with dark fruits, mostly dried cherries, and some candied sugars with yeast notes.

T - Pretty balanced the ABV is kind of notable. The dried cherry aspect gives it a nice tartness which I enjoyed next to mild burnt sugars and other fruits.

M - Medium to heavy this one was a sipper for sure.

Overall not one of the best Belgium's I had on tap, sweet for sure but ABV was kind of noticeable.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle. Allowed this beer a few months in my cellar before opening.

Appearance- Yielded a spritzy head with bad retention but very good lacing consistant throughout the beer. Color was a russett, ruby, amber, dried blood color.

Smell- Bananas hit the snoot pretty hard with some tart red apples and sweet licorice to balance the chiquita onslaught.

Taste- This brew starts with bananas and then leads into some candied apples and caramel. The middle follows seemlessly with black licorice and slightly toasted malt. The finish is a tart yet sweet apple brandy.

Mouthfeel- Good carbonation and a pretty light body make this beer very enjoyable. It is nice to notice the flavors change with each degree rise in temperature. The licorice flavor becomes more prevalent as the bheer warms.

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

Best before “09.08.08”, I’ll guess that I have stored this bottle in my larder for one or two years.

The hazy liquid is deep amber-brown; the enormous beige compact foam sinks slowly while making a loud fizzing sound and leaving massive lacing.

The strong smell is drier and more hoppy than expected. Rich, spicy wine-like flavours hits the nose; matured sherry, fresh apricots, alcohol (quite a lot of it, actually), nutmeg, sweet raisins, hazelnuts and almonds and a touch of banana peels.

The first sip is sweet and mild like strawberry syrup, but then an alcoholic bomb explodes in my mouth: Bittersweet matured notes like red apples, peach, treacle, malt vinegar, caraway… The lasting aftertaste is sweet with matured notes of old strong wine and some minerals (a hint of iodine).

The carbonation is medium strong with lots and lots of minimal tickling bubbles. The liquid is smooth and a little bit thick.

Once again I must admit that this is a grand beer indeed. A little less carbonation and alcohol and it would have been perfect.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark rusty copper/brown color with minimal cap of khaki bubbles, little lacing. Strong notes of anise with notes of prune and fig lead with notes of brown sugar and light molasses. Taste leads with initial bite of spice from the anise, sweetness expected from the nose isn't as pronounced and gives a light pastry like quality - pizzelle cookies come to mind and peg the season perfectly. Rum soaked prune and fig on the back end and settles into a pleasant, lightly sweet brown sugar note. Medium bodied, could use a touch more heft to stand up to the bold flavors. Overall, pegs the season perfectly and quite unique with its flavor profile - only a few minor concerns with body and ability to drink more than 10oz or so.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.79/5  rDev +20.7%
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 DefenCorps
3.66/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle, best by 3rd August 2010. I bought this at Chevy Chase back in 2008 IIRC.

Pouring a very dark brown, black almost, with reddish brown highlights, this beer is capped with a dense, light brown head with excellent retention and very nice lacing. The nose is a spice bomb. A blend of mace, nutmeg and anise, with some eucalyptus, cola, mildly burnt sugar, this is a little too spiced for my liking. The cola notes here bring to mind discount sodas. Alcohol is reasonably well hidden. In addition, there's quite a bit of dark fruit present, with prunes and figs.

The palate opens with the mildly burnt sugar and cola being most noticeable, with the spices following. Again, the dominant notes are mace and nutmeg, with a little bit of clove and cinnamon thrown in. The burnt sugar does pair well with the fruity notes, making this rather dessert-like.The mid-palate is moderately sweet, with buckwheat honey, more cola and a mildly minty alcohol note. A little sweet yet drying on the finish with lingering burnt sugar, cola and mace, this beer is medium bodied and has a nice, creamy carbonation. One thing I haven't mentioned yet is the yeast, which adds a mildly bubblegum-like flavor. The flavors here are nice, but really, not quite for my palate. Recommended, this is one of those beers where the whole is better than the sum of the parts (and hence, my overall score of 4 despite the S/T/M being 3.5s)

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Photo of Bighuge
3.89/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer has a murky muddy brown appearance. A slight beige head sits on top. Lacing is only adequate. The aroma has a sweet rock candy like presence. Very inviting. A little malt as well and hints of alcohol. This beer is nicely put together. Many layered complexities emerge through the drinking process. First, the alcohol makes its presence. But that takes a backseat in no time at all as the waves of candy, fruit and malt take over. But then the alcohol comes back and stays for the duration. Signs of wood and yeast come and go as well. But the alcohol taste is the mainstay, and for that reason, I dock the drinkability and give it an avg. rating in that department. The lingering bitter alcohol taste is not pleasurable. Looking past that one minor fault, I'd say this is pretty good, but I'd not spend the big bucks for it again.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.32/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this from a tap at the Map Room into a chalice.

The beer pours dark brown with a light tan decent retention and lacing.

The aroma is light with a little spice, same thing with the taste.

The feel is ok, the drinkability is limited.

Overall, not a great the feel is to light, the taste is light and too much spice.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. bottle served in my Gouden Carolus chalice. Lot number 12071 indicated on the back label. Pours a dull mahogany hue with a consistent, 1.5 inch, light tan head the sizzles and pops as it slowly recedes into a clumpy quarter inch cap. Nose suggests dark fruit, anise and orange Aspergum. Tastes pretty much like it smells - no real surprises here. There's also a slightly oxidized quality that comes out towards the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium (but closer to light) with an even carbonation that falls just shy of being lively. There's also just a kiss of residual heat that lingers between quaffs as well as a slight acidity. Overall, not a bad example of the style, but not my favorite from this brewer. Not sure what a little age might do to this, but it might be worth laying down a bottle for a year or two.

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Photo of glid02
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a clear deep brown color with a one-finger white head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. The lacing leaves a nice webbing on the glass.

Smells of licorice and anise, alcohol, and dark fruits, in that order. Very interesting.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet Belgian candy sugar hits up front for a split second before it's overtaken by licorice and anise. The licorice and anise stick around all the way through the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a very nice thickness that's backed up by subtle carbonation. This goes down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. I'm not the biggest fan of licorice, but I still like this beer. Just know what you're getting yourself into.

Overall this is one of the more interesting Christmas beers that I've tried. Give this one a shot if for no other reason than for how unique it tastes.

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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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