Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
BA SCORE
3.92/5
Very Good
879 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#6,362
Reviews:
499
Ratings:
879
pDev:
15.82%
Bros Score:
2.88
 
 
Wants:
38
Gots:
112
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 879 |  Reviews: 499
Photo of t0rin0
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Lucky Baldwins 10th Annual Belgian fest on 2/15/09.

Pours a clear dark brown/red color. 1/2" head. Decent head retention and lacing.

Aroma is of a belgian brown ale. Sweetness and black licorice are present.

Flavor is of roastiness, sweet cherry, black licroice, and caramel. Wonderfully complex and interesting. A little peppery too.

Body is medium and very drinkable.

 397 characters

Photo of chinabeergeek
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle. best by date of 20/08/11

dark, dark ruby color, almost opaque. no sediment at all. nice beige head slowly recedes to a wispy layer. nice lacing.

aroma of licorice and sweet caramel candies. rasins, cherry and plums, then more licorice and maybe cinnamon or nutmeg. more malt, caramel and cola. grassy hint from the hops in the back?

cherry fruit and maple syrup sweetness on the palate, with more caramel. licorice, cinnamon, anise and nutmeg to the spice note. gentle hop bitterness. cherries mix with gentle phenols and trace of alcohol.

not too thin, smooth. finishes with slight texture. lively carbonation is almost spritzy, but backs off just in time to remain subtle and complementary.

nice, but overall just a little TOO much going on with the sweet/spice spectrum.

 792 characters

Photo of ChillMike
3.02/5  rDev -23%
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.

 1,110 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked & caged bottle 2008 version. I shared this one with some friends as I thought it would be a chore to kill the whole bottle. Into a snifter.

A-Gouden Carolus Noel pours out a semi thick looking syrup. It has a dark brown to mahogany/copper like color. A very weak head tries it's best to even reach 1/2 of an inch in height but it doesent have the legs to achieve it. Maybe a bad bottle?

S- A whole lot of dark fruits including those in the citrus category. Ripe banana % spicy yeast. Some figs, dates and a lot of prunes in the nose. As it warms some candy like gum comes up as well as spices.

T- Follows the smell with the prunes overshadowing the banana. Some raisins and caramel with a pinch of chocolate. Nutmeg and cinnamon and toasted malts. A lot of sweet sugars with some cherry & licorice in the finish.

M- Light to medium bodied with some carb make this one an easy drinker. This is a little flat at times and could be more lively. A bit of alcohol in the mouth plus some warming effects.

D- At 10.5% this one's a sipper for sure and i'm glad i shared the bottle as I probably would not have finished this alone. Not the best BSDA but worth a shot. The balance of the flavors could improve.

 1,219 characters

Photo of Suds
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This dark reddish-amber brew has a fantastic aroma. The smell is, at first, dominated by lightly roasted malts, but soon a load of esters pop forward. Banana, clove, and peach are prominent. By the time the beer warms a little, though, the aroma is full-on licorice. The licorice flavor is intense and penetrating. Wonderful range of smells! The flavor is also interesting, although it tends to be a little too sugary for my tastes. Malt is the foremost taste. Lots of residual sugars (you can taste them on the lips). There's a little yeast, and a little alcohol. Nice warming...nearly tongue numbing by the end of the bottle. The beer is medium in body, and lower in carbonation than it could have been. Firm, long lasting, soapy head too. Not bad at all..

 758 characters

Photo of LennyV
3.16/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Growler purchased at halftime. Pours a dark mohagoney into my Leyerth Breweries glass. Small tan head with some nice lacing.

Smells of alcohol and malt.

Taste if full of ,at with some mouth warming alcohol. Finish is dry.

Mouth feels silky smooth, nicely carbonated.

Not my favorite. This brew is all malt. I prefer some more hops to balance the tastse. Abv is 10.5% so drink carefully

 389 characters

Photo of Raligitano
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pardon me, I get carried away. It's easy to get sucked into the multihued eye of this beer. Glows. The pink grapefruit edges gradually deepen as you approach the middle of the glass, where the center radiates the darkest of grape purples. A whisky meregue finger of head lightly laces the glass; it's hard to disturb this beer.

Oven's open and there's chocolate-cherry cookies baking. I'm the hungry blue monster, roaring for that bready, sweet maltiness. And the other odors just overwhelm me. I'm sure some of you pro-drinkers out there with bloodhound noses can distingush a lot more scents that I can. At best, I'd say this stinks like a hard fruitcake that's been regifted one too many times. The kind that's solid enough to wrap a death threat around it and chuck through someone's window.

Everybody raise your hands: who likes fruitcake?

It tastes better than the one I dared to eat so many years ago (shudder). Take raw cookie dough and throw a sugarload on top. Add dark plums, prunes, bananas, cherries, and...uh, what the hell are those evil, green cherry-looking things on fruitcakes? Bake it. Pass the brandy cognac. Booziness dominates here and burns on the finish. Biting. Serve shots of this beer at the bar. There's a rich and creamy mouthfeel like the melted center of a posh, chocolate truffle.

I'm not too far removed from my paperbagging 40oz days. Some think too much alcohol and sweetness ruins a beer - too bad for them. Not amazing, but on a lonely Christmas Eve, I'll curl up next to a warm sidewalk grate with one of these bottles.

 1,563 characters

Photo of akokandy
2.76/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle caged and corked poured into my Corsendonk tulip.

A- Dark, dark red with 2+ inches of head. After a few sips, the head died down and left some cool lacing patterns. A cool-looking beer in the glass.

S- Smells like white wine with some red fruit aromas.

T- Alcohol is definitely detectable. Red fruit flavors, especially grape, predominate. There is a wine dryness to the finish and a strong yeast note. The overall flavor is tart, yet also sweet. In-your-face flavor, but too much alcohol/wine flavor for me to really enjoy.

M- A lot of carbonation and a medium-full body.

D- I had a hard time finishing the first glass. The flavor is too tart, too sweet, too much. I feel it was overdone and it was hard to get through the bottle.

 750 characters

Photo of pmcadamis
5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Purple-black like a ripe plum, this supports a MASSIVE head that rolled over the tulip glass and never started to settle during the few moments that I waited patiently for the foam to go down a little so I could smell this beauty. The head is tannish light brown and snaps and pops as it gets rocky and pitted like the surface of the moon.

S - Dark fruit, molasses, and boysenberry pancake syrup. I can smell plums, red wine, dates, and thick sugary fruit flavored syrup. Intensely complex, this nose is gloriously good... I could sniff this one all night.

T - Much like the nose, this has dominant dark fruit notes with secondary IHOP fruit syrup flavors that blend well with a touch of hay-like hops. I taste big fat purple grapes, ripe plums, boysenberry syrup, dark blackstrap molasses, and what tastes like how violets and lilacs smell.

M - Full bodied, but never flabby. This is muscular, but delicate and feminine at the same time (like Fabio on the covers of those old lady romance novels). Sweet and fruity, but not overdone.

D - This is the apex of Belgian brewing. One of the finest brews that I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

 1,153 characters

Photo of TMB0424
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

 1,053 characters

Photo of bum732
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark amber brown. Beautiful white creamy head leaving behind great lacing. Smells of clove, cinnamon, brown sugar, alcohol, ginger, very nice smelling. Tastes sweet brown sugar and cinnamon up front. Followed by more sweetness and bitter orange. Finishes very sweet with some bitterness. Mouthfeel is terrific, silky smooth with a nice thickness.

Not a bad beer, good for winter months and holidays. Very sweet, making it hard to drink a lot. Not bad though.

 472 characters

Photo of CHSLBrew
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a chalice.

A-Frothy tan head, retains for a bit as it reduces down to a dense bubble layer, also providing nice lacing. Dark copper beer, appears relatively opaque, with amber highlights the only light penetrating; some floaties.

S-Sweet malts, thick with fruits. Some spices mingle, as well, with some bready character.

T-Clearly a malt-driven brew, with sweet and toasty malts on display. Some yeasty flavor alongside extensive fruitiness. The flavors are very complex as they play off of each other, making a very deep and complicated flavor. Finishes with hints of toasty biscuit and a smooth alcohol taste.

M-Strong warmth on the way down, which lingered in my belly for quite a bit (smooth the entire time). Medium-high carbonation, which had an almost creamy character. Otherwise, a full-bodied beer.

D-I like the complexity of this brew. It's quite different, which helps with its drinkability, but besides being different, it's also very enjoyable. I was saddened when I completed my bottle. I look forward to finding this one again, even if it's until next Christmas.

 1,094 characters

Photo of nd5282
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a sweet ale that was very easy on the palate but not too sweet like some winter seasonals. Weighing in at over 10% this beer has a well balanced list of highly prized characteristics that make this beer surprisingly enjoyable. I bought this beer at Whole Foods in Westwood.

 282 characters

Photo of bheilman
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed drinking this beer. Didn't have a strong alcohol flavor. Had a beautiful malty fruity flavor. The Map Room in Chicago described a banana flavor and although I'm not one to compare beer to fruit very often, I would say their description was pretty good. The taste is very complex where every sip evolved into a different flavor.

 344 characters

Photo of gdfan47
4.77/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a really really dark brown , that I would almost say black, but when I held it up towards a light i could see it was more brown than black, has a small off white head with a good amount of froathy inviting lacing
S- chocolate and black Licorice, some light cinnamon as well
T- the black Licroice really stuck out in my mind, the chocolate was also there, it finished with some other wonderful spics, maybe ginger... not overly sweet very very pleasant
M- really smooth, goes down alot easier than I thought it was considering how dark it is
D- normally I dont give such high marks for such a high abv beer... but wow this is hidden so very well.. I would have guessed this beers abv to be about 5.5

Im gonna go out on a limb and say this one is kinda rare... but even it isnt drink this one up and enjoy

 813 characters

Photo of gford217
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 750 mL bottle poured into a goblet.

Pours a clear copper topped by a one-finger creamy head that lingers as a small cap for a few minutes and leaves good lacing.

The aroma is fairly subtle and mostly sweet caramel malts and candi sugar. There are hints of spices but not much and certainly less prominent than the alcohol whiffs I got.

The taste amps up the spices a bit with a definite peppery finish. The sweetness of the candi sugar and dark fruits are dominant up until the finish where the peppers and alcohol are more detectable.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth with decent carbonation. It's sticky sweet on the palate with the peppers tickling the tongue at the end.

This is one of the better Belgian holiday ales I've had, mainly because I actually enjoyed having that slightly peppery finish which differentiated it from a normal BSDA. Tasty.

 876 characters

Photo of Shiredave
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one poured a dark red/amber color with a clotted tan head that slumped quickly leaving lacy spatters behind. Very clear with slow carbonation visible.

Aroma is classic Belgian holidaleish - rich toffee and deep fruit notes along side some dark grain and chocolate scents. Alcohol is evident but not quarrelsome with the softer aromas.

Flavors of the same ripe fruits and candy sugar sweetness flood the mouth up front. Rich, dark malt flavors mix in and then vanish to leave a strong smokey bitterness and lingering caramel and alcohol sweetness.

Body is medium to almost full tho something seems missing- this has all the components yet fails to impress. I think this may mellow in the bottle in 2 - 6 months into something a little more rounded and complex - complexity and meshing of flavors may develop with a few months age. Very easy and tasty to drink - went real well with roasted and salted pecans and brie on crusty bread.

 944 characters

Photo of Chinon01
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Rum butter, toffee, candied fruit, roasted malt, a little chocolate, and bubble gum sneaking through; but intensifying in the finish with chocolate covered raisin and blue fruit. Gentle hop bitterness in the back. Fantastic mouthfeel and very good drinkability.

 261 characters

Photo of pinotboy007
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased as a (chilled) single at Arrowine, Arlington, VA.

A - Held up to bright light it reveals a gorgeous, deep, very dark mahogany with garnet accents. The head is decent with moderate lacing.

S - Spice cake and leather.

T - Delicious and the best Christmas ale I've ever tasted. Has a splendid array of sweet fig, dates, a touch of toffee, and even some cola. It's not THAT sweet, but the flavor profile is amazing.

M - Liquid velvet.

D - Even with the high ABV this is more than drinkable and will be a total pleasure to enjoy during the coming holidays. Cheers! :)

 577 characters

Photo of bigkahunas4
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served from a 750ml into a wine glass.

Poured a rich cola body, with hints of cranberry. A nice tan head emerged, with some really nice lace. The nose revealed some serious sugar, with notes of raisin.

This smoothness of this is second to none - incredibly velvetty. Taste is rich in fig, with hints of nutmeg bringing in a winter warmer profile. Slight alcoholic finish.

Quite spectacular. Perhaps a bit too sweet, but a really nice bottle to pick up for the holidays.

 472 characters

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a dark mahogany color with two fingers of foamy tan head.

Aroma of Belgian yeast, dark ripe fruits, figs, licorice, brandy, and an earthiness.

Taste is sweet with dark ripe fruits, licorice, raisins, candy sugar, with a cocoa and malt finish. The 10% alcohol is definitely present.

Medium bodied, smooth and creamy, with very light carbonation.

A big beer as far as Christmas ales go. Slow down and enjoy this one.

 441 characters

Photo of Brianmerrilyn
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this one when waiting for a Bear Republic tasting at David Copperfields.

A: Served in goblet to reveal a murky velvet dark crimson color with a khaki 3/4 finger of a head that settled into a tight cap with strong retention.

S: The nose was full of dark fruit and coco but not overpowering.

T: I knew the abv of this beer before I ordered and could not believe how undetectable it was. Gouden Carolus is the most lucsious Belgian Dark Strong Ale I've ever had. Enormeously rich cand Syrupy sweet. The malts do not have a spicy bite at all. Brown sugar, dates and figs mix together to deliver a smooth fruity package.

M: The smoothest delivery I can recall in some time. The rich texture of this beer slides through your lips around your mouth and down your throat with complete ease, all along tasting yeast, spice and lost of candy.

D: I could not think of a better beer to go with various occasions. A wallop of sweetness packed with power and a smooth delivery make this an exceptional beer.

 1,007 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - an 11.2 ouncer poured into a standard tulip yields a brownish amber brew in the bottom half and a creamy light tan pack of suds in the top half. Very sticky as it falls back, leaving thick trails and waved of sheeted lacing. Some big bubbles popping leave craters in a few spots, messing up the even drop of foam.

Aroma - licorice, a fruity dark spiciness of some sort. An essence of estery vapor hints at the potency of the brew. A touch soapy at times and I sometimes think I'm picking up a touch of metal, but it could just be the anise with the other spices.

Taste - anise immediately, some chocolate notes, wow, some serious abv warmth at the back of the throat and on down into the belly. Sweet malt sugars pair up with the anise for a sugary, estery rush. Some spicy, earthy depth to the anise on the swallow. The finish doesn't stray too far from that; a dry, berry sort of flavor, some chocolate still (chocolate covered cherry?).

Mouthfeel - very full in the mouth as the high carbonation really blossoms this open once you get a sip past the teeth. Slightly syrupy and heavy, I think it does the beer well.

Drinkability - I enjoyed it. It is a slow sipper, a good choice while watching Christmas shows or wrapping gifts. Probably worth aging one to see what time would do the the hotness. A fine choice to celebrate one more week until Christmas Day. :-)

 1,382 characters

Photo of craytonic
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark cranberry-ruby-orange. Nice head and lace

Smell: Heavy and dark with a touch of whiskey. Dates, plums, figs, cherries, malts, brown sugar, black licorice, tobacco, molasses, dark rum. Also some spices - black currants, clove, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, coriander.

Taste: I never noticed any alcohol. A little wine-like, but thicker. Very similar to the smell, with emphasis on the dark fruits. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Good, but not as good as the brewery's top offering. Heavy and almost a little sticky.

Drinkability: Excellent. I had it by itself, but would be perfect for an after-christmas dinner treat.

 643 characters

Photo of SFLpunk
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL brown cork finished bottle. 2008.

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel goblet. Rich mahogony (reddish brown) color with a thick, fluffy tan head. Nice lacing as it receeds.

Nose: Orange peel and a little manure (barn yard) are the first things to hit my nose. Lots of corriander, a little funky wool (horse blanket), and a nice meaty smell.

Palate: There's a sliver of cork in my beer! Ok, now that was unfortunate after all the barnyardy smells to feel something like that in my mouth. Moving on: Big orange peel, corriander, and that meaty/wooly thing. The palate is spicy, like fresh cracked black pepper. Medium-bodied and a little wooly on the texture. Finish is more balanced and everything falls into place.

Notes: A little out of balance right now, it might fall together better with some age. The spices are really loud and I can't hear the beer itself. A decent effort, but I'll stick with the Cuvee and the Classic.

 931 characters

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 879 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.