Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

BA SCORE
89
very good
867 Ratings
THE BROS
67
poor
Read the review
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
Ratings:
867
Reviews:
498
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
15.37%
 
 
Wants:
38
Gots:
107
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 867 |  Reviews: 498
Photo of impending
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into a tulip. Pours an opaque mahogany with medium coffee ice cream colored head which receded fairly quickly.

Aroma of port wine reached me from the bottle. Nose is strong, intense, dark fruits about to rot which someone spilt port wine upon - wonderful, very interesting.

Full bodied chewy mouthfeel. Definitely a Noël brew. Sweet, figs and other dark fruits plucked from a rum cake. Anise and nutmeg are prominent, excellent complexity. Phenols can be the bane of a belgian, here they are aggressively, exquisitely blended. The warmth of the alcohol keeps the taste in balance. The aftertaste which is the sum of all the flavors lingers nicely.

A good example of a brew only the Belgians provide.
cheers
jd

 719 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice dark brown with some garnet hues. Nice of white head. The nose brings forward some dark fruits, booze, and quite a bit of wintry spice. Lots of black licorice. The taste is caramel, bread, dark fruit, dates, alcohol, and some nice nutmeg, clove, and a bit of other spices. Loads of anise. Overpoweringly so. Medium mouthfeel; a bit creamy. Drinks quite well and is a nice addition our holiday lineup.

 435 characters

Photo of bamadog
3.08/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Review is from notes taken on 10/9/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a dark cola brown and starts with a 2 finger fluffy tan head with decent retention; body is dark and murky, almost entirely opaque; thick fluffy strands and webs of lacing are left behind as the fair head slowly dwindles to a full and uneven frothy cap.

Smell: Smells like a TON of over-ripe, dark fruits, Belgian candi and spices; definite presence of alcohol. I'm a little nervous about the sweetness now as I'm feeling it's going to be cloying... Not awful and nice and robust, but damn, that sweetness...

Taste: Yep, overly sweet and ripe dark fruits and lots of them; lots of the Belgian candi and what would be a nice backing of caramel malts if they weren't totally owned by the fruits and near-cloying sweetness; definite booziness and presence of the Belgian spices (cardamom, cloves, etc.); bit of a mess and medicinal (not in a good kind of way, but like a syrupy sweet cough syrup or flu medicine) and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight with moderately strong carbonation that is not overpowering and very fitting for the style; a moderately thick and semi-dry coating is left behind and the belly is left feeling just a little bit warm from the ABV.

Drinkability: Meh -- not something that I'll be seeking out as it's too sweet and medicinal; the ABV would also prove to be a bit much as well; ultimately, if the sweetness is something you like, this may be your beer, but as for me, I like a bit more balance with the spices, and if it's going to be sweet, I like it to be more from the caramel maltiness as I feel it blends better and allows other aspects to come through.

 1,702 characters

Photo of megahurts4
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gouden Carolus Noël (Christmas)

Appearance: Brown, medium head, and good lacing.

Smell: Figs, dark fruit, cotton candy, and alcohol.

Taste: Dates, figs, malts, and cotton candy.

Mouthfeel: Medium thick.

Overall:
Wow, this is tasty! It starts off with the figs and dates with a finish that is sweet like cotton candy. This is a great noel.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

 985 characters

Photo of ricke49
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with as much lacing as i've seen anywhere.

S: fig pudding

T: Fruity with lots of subtle alcohol at the back

M: Very enjoyable; good body (though thiner than expected).

D: would be better in winter or at least on a cool day....but even on a warm day the alcohol taste was not over the top and blended well with the figgy, date, raisen essence.

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

2007 vintage on draft at the Freakin Frog in Vegas.

A: very dark brown, mostly opaque, one finge of off-white head. Lots of white lace adorns my glass.

S: tons of winter spices...mmmm!

T: fruity, sweet, spicy, and delicious. A tiny bit overly sweet, but balances out nicely with the sharp spiciness and alcoholic warmth.

M&D: full-bodied and delicious. Easy to drink if you're into spicy winter brews. Recommended!

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

X-mas 08

Lasting tan head over a drk brown body.

To sum up the smell: Spicy, malty and rich. Lots of drk fruits with assorted holiday spices, run soaked raisins and whiskey notes.

Flavor you ask?? malt biz-omb! Super sweet at first followed my lots of spice. The alcohol is pretty well hidden. Very rich and did I mention delicious?

THe feel is full bodied but not heavy in the slightest. Not as super carbonated as many other Dark Belgian ales, but isn't flat either. the texture is super silky and slightly syrupy.

Wow, I gotta say that nearly 2 years did wonders for this beer. Very balanced and delcious. Another winner from GC. Cheers!

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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 DaveHS
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin, dark tan head. Almost no lacing. Aromas of dark stewed fruit, anise, chocolate covered cherries, pumpernickel and the obligatory nutmeg and cinnamon. Strong flavors of brown sugar, overripe banana, caramel, and anise. A flavor reminiscent of "circus peanut" candy in the back palate. The body is milky and rich. It seems to melt into the palate, creating a lingering finish. Very pleasant fresh, but I prefer bottles with a few years on them.

 482 characters

Photo of voteforgoat
2.82/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

From Winter 2009, drank May 2010

A - thick tan foam, almost black beer, with ruby highlights in the light

B - smells sweet, and slightly like bread dough, can smell the alcohol. Gf says it smells like Rodenbach, which totally surprised me, but decided there's some truth to that. We both agree it tastes nothing like it of course.

T - sweet taste, can taste the alcohol, malty, spice and gingerbread flavor

M- medium thickness, coats the tongue, lightly carbonated once the foam settles.

D-not as drinkable as other Gouden Carolus I've had ( a little cloying) but I'm still enjoying it. Have a bottle in the cellar. We'll see how it ages.

addendum - by the end of the bottle, I was not enjoying it much at all. Quite cloying, a little bit like cough sirup or herbal.
Really lingering taste still hours later. Unpleasant.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Quite a good look as it pours; nearly black with a healthy tan head which recedes a bit too quickly. Not so much lace.

S - It has a somewhat minor aroma, mostly malty, with nuances of caramel, citric-7up , spicy alcohol, and a bit of hazelnut-cocoa.

T - Flavor-wise, it has a lot in common with a Doppelbock. Raisin and dark bread dominate the palette, punctuated by a spicy alcohol twang. As it airs out, the malt acquires suggestions of nutty cocoa fused with plum and prune flavors, anise and cardamom, and perhaps a bit of nectarine as well. Though the alcohol component is a discernible flavor characteristic, it does not drink 'hot', and generally it hides the ABV fairly well.

M - Softly carbonated, with a big, rich vinous feel to it. It is, however, not dry or astringent in any measure; indeed, it is quite the opposite.

D - This brew is very nice, not tremendously challenging, but very easily appreciated and enjoyed.

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.21/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice little bottle i sat on for about 5 months and my will to let it sit any longer broke.
Appearance: Nice rich brown color with hints of orange and a superior head accenting the cloudy beer.
Smell: Very spicy and malty with scents like cinnamon and other christmas spices we expect from a beer during the holidays.
Taste: Good balance of flavor and alcohol. Very warm and filling with a good bready spiciness from the yeast.
Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Very drinkable for such a big beer. Smooth and full with a good carbonation.

 533 characters

Photo of chaz01
4.61/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on draught at a special Belgium event at Chappy's in Dayton -- served in a special 6 oz wine-like tasting glass.

A: Dark brown amber with a brown head and some nice lacing.

S: Dark fruit flavors, plums and dates.

T: Initially a bit of chocolate flavor that turns into black licorice taste. I don't normally like licorice, but it works well in this beer. Fruity and spicy tones such as plums, dates and raisins.

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated.

D: Delicious on it's own, or would go well as a dessert beer. One of my favorites Belgium Christmas beers, what a pleasant surprise to see it available in the Spring.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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 adamette
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Live review. Poured from the 750ML bottle that I purchased yesterday for $8.89 at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor. "Belgian Ale" printed on top of right side of label and the following code printed on left side of label: 0970 but I am not sure what that means. Poured into my silver rimmed Westvleteren goblet.

A Light brown creamy head over dark brown body that glows a nice mahogany in front of direct light. 4.0

S Some dark fruits but a nice sweet malt predominates along with a warmth of alcohol to the nose. The dark fruits that I smell here are similar to that of the Carolus D'Or (Van de Keiser) but they are more nicely balanced in this beer. Welcoming, warming, interesting, inviting. 4.0

T Just as the smell suggested, the dark fruits are nicely balanced with sweet malt, warm alcohol and a nice Belgian yeast taste that all works very nicely. I don't know about the "Noel" aspect of the beer but I could enjoy these every day of the year. 4.5

M Big beer with high ABV, sweet malt, dark fruits and Belgian yeast tastes competing for the taster's attention. There is an apsect of syrupy stickiness as well. The significant, creamy head adds a welcome smoothness to all of it too. I cannot imagine a better, more interesting feel. 5.0

D This is one hell of a big beer so I will only be drinking this bottle (which I likely should have shared with someone else!). The style, the ABV and the sheer bigness of this beer drives down the drinkability. All of that being said, this is a delicious beer so repeated sips were a pleasure. 3.5

Notes: The final in my short series of Het Anker beers, likely my favorite.

 1,628 characters

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

Served from a 330ml bottle, purchased at Wells in Baltimore, MD, back in winter of 2006/2007, into my Gouden Carolus goblet at an appropriate temperature (01/21/10).

A: Pours a murky, dark, mahogany brown with slight faint ruby hues and two fingers of a creamy off-white head with excellent retention and lacing.

S: Pleasant aroma of dark fruits, blueberries, Belgian yeast, raisins, plums, and clove.

T: Raisins and blueberries hit first with lushes layers of dark fruit and an estery Belgian yeast. This beer has aged nicely, maturing into a much more well-rounded and balanced Belgian Strong Dark Ale with nuances in its flavor profile coming more to the surface.

M: Medium to thick-bodied with creamy, smooth carbonation. I found this to be the best part of the beer.

D: Easy to drink, especially since the 10.5% abv is well hidden, but the richness of the flavor and rather thick mouthfeel limit its consumption to just a couple bottles.

Overall this is a very nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale with a winter seasonal flair. With about three years of age under its belt, this beer as matured nicely and seems superior to it fresh. Recommended.

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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 Buttermaker
3.66/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not much on the nose but a nice creamy head. Taste: Holy Caramel Bomb! This Belgium Ale tastes like a double bock crossed with a root beer. It's still very drinkable, especially on a cold December evening. There's plenty of depth (cinnamon, prunes, banana), but I prefer something with a little more balance. (I'm not sure they used hops at all.) They do great job of disguising the 10.5% ABV, it's wonderfully warming but not at all harsh.

Recommended music pairing: Ray Charles - That Spirit of Christmas

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

Serving: 750 ml poured into a Duvel chalice

A: Reddish brown with a nice thick brownish white fluffy head. Nice lacing and retention. When held up to the light the color is red like Santa's suit, nice carbonation can be seen.

S: Malt and sweet spice, fruity, banana and kiwi.

T: Quite a complex amount of flavors, malt and bread yeast, fruity notes on a pleasing long finish. Alcohol is present at the end, but, over all, nicely blended.

M: The ample carbonation stops the beer from being cloying. It beings creamy and finishes with cream, only at the end turning to a crisp clean.

D: 10.5 does not make this beer one to be consumed in earnest.

Overall: I don't know if they have changed the recipe since the Bros reviewed it, but, it was a great beer for me. There is a lot going on, and it could be restrained a bit better, however, the flavors do work together, particularly in the finish. There is a bit of sweet and alcohol that is not blended completely out by the hit of spice at the end. Overall though, one of the better noels I've had this year.

 1,065 characters

Photo of rebel1771
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark reddish brown color with a tan head that fades quickly.

S: Banana nut bread right up front along with candied fruit and a malty twang.

T: Bread flavors start out with a heavy alcohol kick. Heavy candied fruit flavors with a decent malt body finished with a spicy banana note.

D: This is one tasty brew, along with one heck of a heavy hitter. A couple of these and you'll be wearing the old wobbly boot.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.29/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

0.33l bottle poured in a chalice.

Decent Belgium Dark Strong Ale. Nice spicy and fruity perfume.

A: Nice Brown/Amber color. Quite clean
S: Dark fruits (plum and grapes) and spices
T: Strong. ABV is high and you can fell it. Sweet toffee. Belgium yeasts (less relevant). Rum. Smells better than tastes
M: Sweet in the beginning and bitter in the end. Soft carbonation and strong alcohol taste
D: Low drinkability. Too strong taste for me. Might be a good beer but overloaded me...

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

Slpit a 750mL two ways, poured into Russian River globes.

Ar: Super fruity an floral, plum, rich fruit dark heavy grape, *licorice, rummy spice, alcohol, raisin, caramel and toffee, spice, chocolate, overall a rich, sweet and full aroma

Ap: Low light tan head, hints of lace, good retention, clear brown with red highlights

T: Rummy, heavy toffee, plum and raisin, sweet and fruity, caramel, light whiskey spice/oak, dried fruit, light herbal hop in aftertaste, complex, chocolate, a rum and coke like sweet and spice quality, unique

M: Full wet and sweet, alc warmth but clean alcohol and appropriate, low/medium carbonation

O: great sipping beer, very rich and sweet, nice spiciness, complex, very quad-like

 714 characters

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 CMW
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark brown. Much darker than I expected, almost like a porter. The head is at least two inches and tan in color. Retention is massive as it is taking me at least five minutes to let it settle enough to drink.

S - Smell is dominated by candied dark fruits, yeast, and alcohol.

T - The sweeter is definitely noticeable up front. The taste reminds me of candied figs and raisins. After the sweetness fades, the malt is noticeable along with the yeast. There is some balance but the sweetness is definitely more powerful. Slight warming in the end.

M - Medium carbonation but this has more of a syrupy feel.

D - I like this beer quite a bit I will definitely buy one again next year.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.97 out of 5 based on 867 ratings.
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