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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 479 | Ratings: 829
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy brown color ale with a huge foamy head with great retention and good lacing. Aroma of sweet candy and anis is dominating and quite enjoyable and almost reminiscent of Rochefort. Taste is a nice mix between strong Belgian malt, sweet candy and anis. There is some sweetness but it never goes overboard and provides great balance with some light typical Belgian yeast. It appears that this brewery just won’t stop to amaze me with all those great beers.

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

Two finger thick light khaki colored head. Has a deep rich dark ruby red full body. Head does dissipate rather quickly and leaves behind good sticky lacing.

Malty, honey, and leathery. Some herbal spices and floral hops aroma too. Alcoholic aroma is very present. Altogether, it kind of reminds me of the aromas of my father's smokeless tobacco as well.

I taste many spices too include cinnamon and maybe nutmeg. I also detect hints honey and ginger.

This brew has a very full body. It is also very warm to the palate.

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Photo of petemoss14
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle.

Pours a deep ruby color with a creamy tan head that settles to thin blanket that clings.

Wonderfully full aroma. Sweet anise/licorice asserts itself confidently. Esters of grape and plum. Cherry and, dare I say, roasted pear. Or perhaps pear poached in mulled wine or port. Spicy phenols -- clove, and a touch of cinnamon. These warm spices are accompanied by something a bit brighter as well -- cardamom perhaps. Not sure if I want to drink this, then there'd be nothing left to smell!

Oh, so creamy smooth on the palate. More fruit on the palate. Sweet but not cloying. Again, roasted -- a bit of caramel -- pear comes to mind, studded with cardamom. Cinammon and cocoa. Sultanas. More sweet anise. Actually finishes dry -- like a dusting of cocoa, with a touch of bitterness at the back of the tongue.

Really, this beer is simply delicious. I wish I had some almond biscotti, as I think this would be the perfect accompaniment. Definitely my favorite Belgian Noel, and also my favorite Carolus. Seek it out!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750ml bottle. Medium brown color, thin head, well-carbonated. It had a fruity and spicy aroma. A dark fruit taste, with warming spices. Pleasant enough, but I wouldn't want a lot in one sitting. I'm not sure the fruit and spice combination works that well for me, but at the same time it does seem a little different from the typical Christmas beers.

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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 IronDjinn
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a 750 ml brown bottle, caged and corked. Great to see this stuff available locally now.

Pours out a cloudy chestnut brown, almond highlights around the edges when held up to the light. Tall cinnamon toned head that recedes to a thick foamy cap. Sticky, spongy lacing.

The nose on this stuff is delightful and somewhat of an enigma, so many sweet smells coming off of it. Grapes right up front, green apples, hazelnuts, vanilla, nutmeg, and peeled madarin are what I've managed to decipher thus far. Red strawberry licorice and hints of bubblegum, like the blue bubblegum kind of ice cream.

Creamy texture, as well as flavour to this Xmas ale. Rich malt and vinuous notes up front. Low warming alcohol. Dates, figs and raisins in the middle, then finishing akin to the flavour of an old fashioned orange cream soda, soft mandarin blended with whipped vanilla. An Xmas ale indeed. This stuff is like candy, simply well-veiled high octane candy.

As mentioned above, mouthfeel is creamy, silky, like a magic carpet that rolls across your palate. Just a bit of an alcohol bite on the finish to snap one out of a revelry, and politely remind them of the consequences in store waiting for them after finishing a whole bottle of this by themself. Might as well enjoy the fun now while it lasts...

This stuff is deceptively drinkable, an absolute pleasure to imbibe. Mommy I want more! Best to stock some of this away to share with special people on special occassions, it's just not for Xmas anymore. Wow. I haven't felt this happy drinking a beer since my last bottle of Unibroue 10.

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Photo of rarevos
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into goblet.

A: Pours a cherry-tinted brown with light tan head. Head is fleeting, leaving just a thin crown. A few bubbles are visible only if it's near light. It's opaque otherwise.

S: Bit of vinousness up front, and very sweet, dark fruit underneath that. Estery. A little woody.

T/M: Sweet, ripe, dark fruit. Plums. Figs. Cherries. Then apricots, which are (I know) not dark. But they're here anyway. Brown sugar. Bit of a balsamic vinegar thing going on behind that. Finish is apricot and licorice. There's a warming alcohol kick at the end, so I'm thinking a little time in the cellar would help this boy out.

D: This is a one-and-done beer for me because of the abv, but is certainly something I'd get again. Is a nice change of pace from Christmas beers that load up on the nutmeg and cinnamon. I'm going to buy up a few bottles and stick 'em in the cellar for next Christmas.

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

In true Gouden Carolus brand fashion, the namesake carries a breath of flavor that's equally as succulent, rich, and drinkable as their Cuvee van der Kiaser- exceeding expectations.

Upon the pour, the beer revealed a deep brown, solid ruby hue, with a mild murky translucency. The head retention was uncanny, with a great ability to lace.

Aromas are big, plump character of malt, berries, fruit, earthyness, and mustiness. Flavors are sweetly malty, toasty, tart, sweet, fruity (plumbs, dates, figs, grapes...) woody, nutty....I could go on for hours. The beer just has a tremendous amount of complexity and well balanced to boot.

The texture is a soothing, alcoholiclly thinned, mildly tart, rich, mouth filling roundness. Finishes with a balanced dryness and sweetness and a lingering grape, malt flavor.

This one is certainly a classic. Possibly even better than the Kaiser.

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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 Foxman
4.29/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a hazy, almost murky tea brown. Two fingers of soft beige head slinks away swiftly to mere traces of itself. Little bits of lacing nibble the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, a roasted malt sweetness manages to flash toffee and plum before esters and spices toss about green apple, banana, clove, and coriander. Alcohol is plenty swarthy.

Upon sipping, the malt is toasty and fruit sweet, with sloe, dark cherry, and dates, along with toffee and biscuit. A lightly peppery spiciness augments clove and anise. A very warm alcohol vent clears the air for some residual grain sweetness. The finish is briefly phenolic and lastingly crisp and dry. It's a nicely complex and very well blended Belgian blast.

Medium bodied, the grain is slick and coating and the crisp spiciness is fittingly lively.

I passed this up on Christmas for something else I cannot recall. I would not have forgotten this. It's not really spectacular, but rather it's a zesty Belgian Yule celebration. The ABV is as it should be, big and glowing, but it warms and wraps and works as a nice cozy bonus. Next year this beer will be sure to garner holiday billing.

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

Best before says 03/08/09, unless Alberta received old beer, this is the 2006 edition. I've yet to be disappointed by this brewery, so I was really looking forward to this one.

In the glass this beer is the colour of a brown crayon. No head could be coaxed out of it. Not exciting, but nice enough colour.

The smell is fruity and has a spicy alcohol kick to it. Red licorice sweetness, cherries and grapes. Pleasant to smell over and over.

Smooth and warm in the mouth, the alcohol is there but not biting at all. Malty sweet, red licorice and raisins. Slightly spicy finish, and faint coffee rests in the lingering flavour.

Dangerously drinkable, slightly thinner than I expected, but still very smooth. Het Anker is still yet to disappoint. I plan on aging a couple of bombers of this one.

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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 shirfan
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice: ruby-brown with very little head.

Mild pear, sawdust, dusty yeast in the nose. Not especially pungent.

Taste is good, but a bit subdued. Nothing really "pops", although this makes for a nicely balanced beer. Slightly sour, oaky notes prevail, almost a bit wine-like. Black cherry and brown pear. Not especially sweet, and there's a slightly medicinal note in the finish.

High carbonation, fairly well-hidden ABV. Complex, unusual flavors make this a good choice for slow sipping.

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Photo of russpowell
4.63/5  rDev +16.6%
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

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Photo of vanrassel
3.23/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Let me preface what is going to be a contrarian review by saying I like — no, love — big Belgian beers. I absolutely adore Carolus d'Or Cuvée van de Keizer, too. But after two big bottles of Noel, I can't proclaim its greatness.

This beer's look and aroma hint at good things: a rich mahogany body with a compact beige head and a nice mix of yeast, prunes, dried fruit, black licorice and brown sugar for the nose.

That nice complexity doesn't transfer to the palate, however. Sharp alcohol, black licorice and a strong medicinal taste preface a dry, powdery yeast finish. The carbonation is moderate and the body feels right, but I just never warmed up to this beer — and not for lack of trying.

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Photo of doubleipa
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quarter inch haed tha's gone in a minute. Very bark brown. Could smell this bad boy from 2 feet away. Light yeast, light bread, and light maltiness. Strong cherry, with maybe a hint of allspice and vanilla. Moderate alcohol taste. Good, but not outstanding as a "Christmas" beer.

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Photo of Pepeton
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Found and stored a few 330 ml. bottles of this one since late November for the holidays.

Amuses me that the label bears a Santa Claus on a sleigh pulled by horses instead of reindeers. Nice indeed.

Has a best before date of 2009.

Appearance is of dark mahogany, with deep red hues; beautiful tan head and an apparently everlasting lacing.

Smell is very complex, with a full malt backbone, but a lot of ripe fruit, like raisins, plums, also a spiciness that resembles me black pepper and, naturally, alcohol.

Taste is as complex as smell, even more. It's almost chewy, with a dark fruit pudding taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy; proudly bears whole body; with a buttery aftertaste. Round and balanced, has a nice unabashed bitter ending.

This beer is indeed an outstanding example for the style.

I have to go for more and stock 'em in my cellar (the back of my closet) for years to come.


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Photo of dgallina
3.03/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml corked and caged brown bottle. No date on cork or bottle.

Pours almost clear red-tinged chestnut. Little head and thin lace, but relatively good carbonation for a strong aged ale. Pretty strong smelling. Lots of alcoholic grape bubble gum, banana, black pepper in the nose. Bitter-sweet tasting. Heavy bubble gum stickiness vies uneasily against spiced medicinal alcohol notes. Some toasted malt shows through in the finish, but not enough to offset the tenacious bubble gum. Body is heavy and limp; sticky and not very exciting. I don't particularly enjoy the other Gouden Carolus beers, and this one is in the same mould.

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Photo of ojiikun
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a bottle of this in November as a christmas present to myself. Being probably the most pricey brew I've ever had, expectations are high.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tupil glass. Strongly carbonated - the cork nearly came out on it's own. Well-controleld head that can be coaxed up with swirling - plenty of potential but no mess. Body is dark reddish-brown, beautifully translucent but not chunky. Champagne bubbles play along the sides for the whole bottle.

Smell is intensely of sweet bubblegum, cardamom, bread, pears, caramel and too many other complexities to list. Notably absent is a strong hop smell of any sort. Nothing but candi sugar and yeasty malts. The sweetness suggests the alcohol content to the beer-wise, but the booze itself is well-masked.

Taste is briefly sweet, then more on the peppery, dry side. Deep and balanced spice and citrus notes. Never tart or bitter, despite the complexity. The bubblegum flavour nearly conflicts at this point, but fades by the end of the sip. As the bottle warms, the belgian yeast really opens up.

Mouthfeel is silky, sparkly, and clean. Leaves the palate incredibly clean and ready for more. I imagine this could pair well with many foods, if it weren't such a waste of a gourmet brew.

Incredibly drinkable for over 10%. Probably dangerous to have more than one bottle in the house!

Smell and taste are exciting, but taste is actually unremarkable. However, the experience of a beer this drinkable and this strong is something to be sought. A near-perfect expression of the concept of very strong beers, suited for both the newcomer and the snob alike.

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

It pours a nice red amber color, Short head and a little bit of lace; Smell is fruity, very nice aroma; Taste is sweet, flavor of caramel or honey, fruits and malt; Mouthfeel is dry; Drinkability is good, easy to drink.

Nice Chrtistmas brew.

¡Feliz Navidad!

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Photo of Bierman9
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Carolus Noel? Christmas Eve day is close enough, no? ;-) Enjoyed from a 750ml bottle, 10.0% abv listed on the label but no freshness dating found. A golden silhouette of 3 horses (as opposed to reindeer) pulls a small sleigh with a jolly Sinter Klaas within over a snow-bedecked hamlet.

Pours a lovely, deep amber, ruby color into the chalice. Carbo is sporadic and slow, rising towards a thin, fine, light tan head. A little bit of lacing is left within, though not a whole lot. The biers color, though, is gorgeous! Aroma lies a bit between a combo of some tropical fruit and dark fruit. A touch candyish, as well, though mild overall. A smidge of prickliness makes a lightning-quick attack on the palate, though it does little damage to the enjoyment. Body is solidly medium; no more, no less.

Flavor is lightly sweet with, again, a candy-like touch and almost a hint of brown sugar (almost). Most noticeable here is the fruity character. Similar to the aroma, it shows some bits of figs, a little grapiness, and a small share of green apple. It's a bit powdery and dry in the finish. A 10.0% abv? Where? Hardly felt a thing... Pretty tasty, overall. Not a world-beater, but still satisfying.


overall: 3.9
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of Estarrio
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Holiday 2006 bottle

Poured a dark, copper brown with reddish tones. A slow pour into my Chimay glass produced a full, tan colored head, which faded into silky lacings.

This is a very aromatic brew. A sweet malt background is overcome by dark fruit, raisin, plum and red grapes. There is a nice hint of yeast in the background with a liberal amount of esters. I'm also sensing some clove and a bit of spicy alcohol.

This is a great tasting brew with a very complex flavor profile. Thick, sweet malt, dark fruity esters, raisin, tart cherry, acidic plum juice, figs, earthy yeast funk, chocolate and caramel render this a complex beer. The high alcohol percentage is notable in the warming and in the spicy aftertaste. At 10.5% this brew packs a hot bite that is balanced by the sweet fruit flavor.

Possessing a full-bodied palate with an almost creamy carbonation feel, this brew is a pleasure on the mouth. Drinkability is only slightly hindered by the noticeably high alcohol content.

What an amazing Christmas brew! I could easily drink this one year round. The flavors really come out at room temp but a slight chill will help mask the alcohol content.

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

Poured this into my new AleSmith tulip that I received from b0ldfacelies -- a perfect vessel for a special Xmas beer. Cherry-blood bronze with a smooth and creamy dust-khaki foam cap. Aromas of overripe banana, nutmeg, clove, powdered ginger, cinnamon, farmyardy yeast funk, lemon zest and a finishing scent of earthy grain husks. Tart applesauce and raisin puree flavor mixed with mashed banana and a funky vegetal spiciness in the aftertaste -- sort of like brussels sprouts. Lingering "country" yeast flavors. Noticeable alcohol buzz all around the flavor and mouthfeel, but nothing that's too distracting from the overall taste experience. Surprisingly light in body for such a big, flavorful beer. Moderate alcohol slickness is barely perceptible, leading to extremely easy drinkability, especially given the big flavor and high alcohol content. In all, a very nice choice for a special holiday beer.

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Photo of Budlum
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring this ale produces one inch of foamy, tan head that bubbles down to a thin layer. The body a is a slightly cloudy, rich garnet hue displaying light carbonation. Very nice to look at.

The nose of this beer is immediately complex and delicious. A fruit aroma of fresh pears and nectarines mix with a gingersnap spice and a rich tulip aroma. Alcohol is barely noticeable.

Deep fruit flavors of plums and pomagranates mix with a spicy and bready ginger bread taste to start this finely crafted ale. Spice presence is strong yet very well balanced. Alcohol content is apparent but very controlled. The finish provides a warming alcohol presence and a long butter and brown sugar sweetness. A very delicious beer.

The mouthfeel is quite filling but notably dry due to the alcohol. The spice content gives it quite a pop with each sip.

Drinkability is very good. It would be very easy to drink too much of this even with the big alcohol presence. One of the preimiere Belgian seasonal brews.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle. Leaves a two finger head that quickly fades to a long lasting surface layer ( i.e. excellent retention ) , and leaves excellent lacing. Body is a hazy garnet.

Smell - medicinal alcohol, solvent alcohol, horse blanket, raisins, and a hint of malt bread.

Taste - figs, raisins, horse blanket washed through with phenolic, medicinal alcohol. Solvent alcohol present in the nose, just does not show up on the palate, and the alcohol ends up being pleasingly warm and medicinal, not harsh like I had feared from the nose, nor is it overly dominating.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, semi-dry, and somewhat fizzy.

Drinkability - this is very good, but the high abv makes it not sessionable.

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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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