Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
Very Good
895 Ratings
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:
For more than 35 years we had to miss the Christmas beer but in 2002 the tradition was restored with Gouden Carolus Christmas. It’s a strong, dark ruby red beer with character and contains an alcohol percentage of 10.5 % alc.vol. Brewed in August, the beer rests a few months to reach an optimal balance. Three kinds of hops and 6 different kinds of herbs and spices define the rich taste of this Christmas beer. Top-class!

Added by Gusler on 11-24-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 895 |  Reviews: 508
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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! :)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. :-)

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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.

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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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Freshly tapped in a Gouden Carolus chalice.
Cast a dusky magenta, showing lighter crimson at the edges.
Slim beige head.

Gorgeous aroma. Sweetness. Cocoa. Dark fruit. Creamy. A raisin wrapped in chocolate, dipped in brandy, set on fire. Wine-like, at times.

Slick, sweet and delicious on the tongue. Slips through the mouth and tickles the senses. Warm, and wonderful. Molasses, brown sugar, figs, and carob. Then the booze speaks up. And I agree with everything it's saying.

Long, warming finish. Never too hot, never too sweet, just right.
Spice + fruit + magical Belgian malt and yeast = perfection.
Yum meets yum.
This is just right for tonight. It's what 3 below? Holy Cow!
I have half a mind to stay right here and finish the keg. Sounds like a plan...

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Photo of rtepiak
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

somewhat violent pop. pour was at first 80% latte head with tight bubbles. let it sit for a few minutes. head is still belgian massive. tastes quite nice and creamy. nice contraction. big lace. beer is a dark chestnut, almost cola. nose is light belgian cane and malt... st. bernadus proir 8 style. cotton candy and cardamon and sweet orange peel. quite a nice density. cane sugar is there but not masking everything else. honey malt, banana, orange peel, cardamon, walnut, pollen and very gentle cane sugar floral led hop finish, clove maybe. lots of stuff in here but it seems the beer takes a bit to open up due to that aggressive carbonation. don't burn on the palate though so its not that harsh. burps up banana/pumpkin bread. the alcohol is faint on the nose but hidden quite well in the beer. i like the foam but i can see it being a turn off for some.

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Photo of johnd513
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a redish brown color with a nice two finger tan head. I gotta say this one looks great in my Duvel tulip. Smells of sweet fruits - cherries, figs and raisins and a cherry, a liquor smell that i can't quite place and alcohol at the end. Tastes of tart/sweet fruits - raisins, dark malt and alcohol at the end. The mouthfeel is light yet very smooth. Drinkability is decent but I don't think I would have another because of the high alcohol content and high price tag.

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Photo of illidurit
3.31/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Dark cloudy brown color with a creamy tan head that leaves nice lacing. Aroma is boozy with lots of orange peel, cinnamon, and fig. A little too boozy for me though. Flavor is similar; there's a sweet dark maltiness doused in fusels with tropical and dark fruits and heavy spicing. Full bodied and warming, not hugely drinkable from all the alcohol.

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Photo of Greggy
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- 1 finger toffee/tan head, nice dark red/brown color. Decent lacing is present. A thin sediment is suspended in the glass

S- Malty, Candy, Butterscotch, anise, green apples, black licorice. Alcohol is present.

T- Starts out with green apple, black licorice, loads of malt with plenty of spice. The finish has some heat on it that is pretty warming and almost cloying.

M- Low carbonation with thick mouthfeel. Alcohol can be felt, however.

D- Because of the heat, this isn't extremely drinkable, but wasn't un-drinkable. I'd say, worth a shot.

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Photo of glid02
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
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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Photo of essie
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tried this on tap several months back at the Kulminator (it was only a couple weeks old from the brewery), but my notes were unfortunately somewhat sparse. That said, here's what I wrote down:

Dark in color with a nice off-white head. Smells and tastes of dark malts with a heavy anise overtone; very smooth and rich, with a medium body. Drinkability suffers a little from the heavy taste of anise and the high abv, but it's still an awesome beer that's definitely worth trying.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark chestnut brown body topped with a quarter inch off creamy, off-white head. Very thick, very coating lacing as it goes.

Smell: Earthy, spicy, malty nose with notes of anise, prune, black currants and, wait, is that Jäger I'm smelling?

Taste: Sweet caramel, spiced molasses, black licorice, and candied fruits blended with a full shot, no, make that two shots of Jägermeister. The heavy malts, fruits, and bitter herbal liqueur all vie for dominance. Who's the winner? Well, I'll just say you get a bit more Jäger on the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Grr, when I get my hands on whoever dropped a shot of Jägermeister in my Gouden Carolus Noël, I'll take my shoe to them!

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Photo of dino213aa
2.74/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This syrupy sweet dark ale just leaves me a bit flat. Originally poured with a one inch head that quickly dissipated never to be seen again, no matter how vigorously I re-pour. The Bros did much better at spotting individual flavors although the cumulative taste and mouthfeel resembles cough syrup... maybe an essence of NyQuil.. lol

Pretty weak offering from an otherwise strong brewery.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 895 ratings