Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

very good
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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: 498 | Ratings: 866
Photo of r-m-kaylor
4.52/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle dated 09 August 2011 - pours a deep, clear, effervescent red into a Gouden Carolus Challis with a tight off-white head which settles into a thin ring. On the nose, caramel and classic Gouden Carolus yeast/water - one looks forward to this - mouthfeel is full with bright cleansing up front, middle and back with a soothing caramel aftertase - again, classic Gouden Carolus taste- IMHO this is the quintessential Belgian Biere de Hiver en Terre et Terrior. Prost!

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Photo of Libeertarian
4.26/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

From notes taken 02/02/17:

I have two of these, and the second one I bought was marked down about 50%, so that’s nice. Will probably re-review the other next year.

Fairly clear, a brown along the lines of cola or dark spiced rum. Large, thick, tannish-brown, fine foamy and almost creamy head of moderate retention. Before even pouring it, get an aroma of anise/licorice. Much the same in the glass. Whiffing deeper, it is hard to get anything else, but I detect, faintly, some alcohol and some vinegar or other tartness. Letting it sit for a few minutes, these are all still present but weaken and expose a banana quality. That’s good. As much as I appreciate anise, etc., it can be a little overwhelming in large quantities, so heres hoping the palate isn’t so strong with it. To taste, anise still strongest flavor, too strong but I can take it. Also heavy with rum- and brandy- and liqueur-like booze flavors. And then an abundance of dark fruit, berries, but still somewhat subdued by everything else. It tastes like an attempt at a mixed drink more than a beer, mouthfeel notwithstanding. Full-bodied, pure cream, it practically soaks in, little need to gulp. Plenty of heat, as 10.5% ABV would indicate. Take the time to enjoy this.

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Photo of The_Bujon
4.68/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This Christmas beer is an absolute belter! What can I say other than pure velvet to drink, with a combination of caramel and liquorice in aroma. I prefer to have this lightly chilled then aired a touch. Super creamy head which remains providing you are consuming from a suitable vestibule. If you're not a liquorice fan, then you may find it a bit too much....thank the lucky stars I am!

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.01/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

the whole here is better than its elements on the score sheet, but thats the way it goes sometimes. this is a 2011 vintage, mostly cellared by little liquor on downing, been in my cellar about a year, the time was now. its murky auburn colored with a nice white belgian head on it, maybe the cloudiness is a product of its age somehow, i dont remember this being cloudy in the past. the aroma and flavor are great though, no oxidation or old beer flavor at all, it has matured really nicely. lots going on here, rich grain at the heart of it, notes of chestnut, dried cherry, clove, anise, brown sugar, and and a cool fruity belgian yeast, pears and apple cider hints to it. there is a lot of sugar here still, especially in the finish, but what there isnt, is too much alcohol. its warming and cozy, but it doesnt burn and it doesnt slow me down at all. gingerbready spice in the finish here, the malt has held up well too. very holiday in overall vibe, but not as belgian yeast driven as a lot of others in this family. id love to do a side by side with a freshy, but this 2011 has to be near its prime. quality beer, better than its ratings!

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.21/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

As other reviews has stated, there is a strong presence of anise going on in this beer. I personally like it, even preferring it over Chimay blue in a side-by-side. I did notice that as the beer warmed, the flavors seems to get awkward; thus, I prefer it cold.

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Photo of opieo
2.75/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

There is nothing special about this brew. No taste stand out. Slight grain front. Slight hop after. Totally non-descript. Not even the atmosphere of the Heigel Geist church restuarant in Mainz GE helped the flavor.

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

Very dark ruby. Thick tan head. Looks great.
Sweet smelling dried fruit, caramel fudge and molasses.
The taste reflects the aroma. The sweetness lingers.
Smooth carbonation with only a moderate body.
This went down well on Christmas day 2016.

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Photo of puck1225
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On draft in a snifter on Christmas Eve. Dark brown color, beige head and good lacing. Warm spice and sweet spice smell. Taste is sweet with root beer and dark raisins, cola and orange. A decent Christmas beer.

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Photo of dwagner003
2.69/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Complete licorice bomb. I'm not sure if it was actually added, but it's really overwhelming. If you do not like black licorice, there is a good chance you will dislike this beer. It's lost most of the dark fruit qualities of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but the alcohol burn is very prominent. Not a particularly enjoyable beer.

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Photo of delta490
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a deep murky brown with about a finger of creamy light tan head that settles down to about a quarter of that. But it manages to hold on throughout and leave some patches of tight sticky lacing. The aroma is dark fruity, sweet, with a little bit an of herbal tinge. The taste is much the same and I actually get a little bit of anise. The body is lighter but not thin, with a nice smooth feel throughout.

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Photo of tdiers
4.8/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pours an opaque color with a smallish head.

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

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

Most excellent!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poured from the tap at the Taco Mac in Cumberland, GA. The appearance is a dark reddish-brown color with a small off-white head. The aroma is fruit and cinnamon with some black licorice. Has a very nice flavor of licorice and the alcohol blends in well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Viaduck
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The cork pops out with a moderate pop & pours a tea colored medium brown & medium head. Smells like hickory farms, a weird sausage aroma. Tastes initially salty & then caramel, lots of of caramel, some grain & hop. Sweet, I like sweet. Nicely balanced. Very good.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.97 out of 5 based on 866 ratings.
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