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:
#6,355
Reviews:
499
Ratings:
879
pDev:
15.82%
Bros Score:
2.88
 
 
Wants:
38
Gots:
111
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 879 |  Reviews: 499
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...

 763 characters

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.

 860 characters

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.

 482 characters

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.

 382 characters

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.

 549 characters

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.

 957 characters

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.

 481 characters

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!

 771 characters

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.

 390 characters

Photo of corby112
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a large forhty head. Very malty, spicy aroma with hints of dark fruit, chocolate and pepper. Sweet matly alcohol taste up front with a dry, peppery finish with hints of raisin and dark cherries.

 278 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml cage-corked bottle:

Pours hazed brown with a tan head that descends to a patch.

The smell is of caramel candy, vanilla, and alcohol.

The taste is of caramel candy, vanilla, and a subtle apple/pear fruitiness. Very sweet - almost sticky.

It has a thickish medium body. A bit syrupy.

A bit too sweet, boozy and almost too syrupy for me to really enjoy this one too much. It has a nice enough sweet candy, with a bit of a fruity character for slow sipping, but too sweet for the whole thing - Glad to have shared it.

 525 characters

Photo of Flup
2.48/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

For the first time I am dissapointed witha beer from Het Anker

A. Red/brouwn colour; almost no foam, no retention

S. Spicy dominated by Liquorice

T. Too much of lis liquorice with a bit of fruits (orange?)

M. Persitant liquorice taste

D. I probably expected too much? but is is not a bee I will recommand, tomorrow I will have a hopsinjoor in order to go on with a positive image of Het Anker

 397 characters

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

Sep 15, 2008
[Eyes] Dark brown like the classic color with a moorefoamy white head.
[Nouse] The aroma is festive and strong... Christmas fruity with hints of banana, malt caramel, yeast, vanilla, and brown cuban sugar.
[Mouth] Great Full body with nice and gentile carbonation, notes of flavors of sweet, strong fruits, sugar and yeast. The Afther taste is long and sweet with a touch of caramel and vanilla. mmm!

Serving type: bottle

 438 characters

Photo of rye726
4.51/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark mahogany with a thick tan head. Excellent lacing. The nose has spices, Belgian yeasts, dark malts, ripe fruits and candy. The taste is again a delicious blend of sweet fruity malts and Christmas spices. Full body holds a delicate carbonation. Another great brew from Het Anker.

 282 characters

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: snifter. dark, opaque mahogany color. light brown head. outstanding retention and nice velvety lacing.

S: aromas of apples, figs, plums, clove, some nutmeg. hints of anise. black currants. huge malt aroma. some honey.

T: very malty. dark honey flavors. black currant, huge spice notes, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, some light coriander. some alcohol esters. a little too fresh/hot.

M: full-bodied. bigger carbonation level than expected. big bite. a little chewy.

D: wonderful beer. needs a little time to mellow out IMO. very nice flavors and a great seasonal belgian strong.

 580 characters

Photo of bkilpatr
2.18/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a Chimay glass. 11/23/08.

Pours a deep brown color with hints of ruby around the edges. About a finger of light tan head that slowly dropped to a thin layer. Aroma is very yeasty and fruity with toffee, cherry, caramel, sweet malt, and a heavy dose of alcohol.

Taste starts with a bunch of sweet malt and darker fruits. Lots of cherry and toffee and a sweet biscuit taste. Plenty of peppery spice. There's a bit of fusel alcohol taste as well.

Feel is medium-full bodied with ample carbonation. There's a bunch of warming from the alcohol. Drinkability is not that great. Between the alcohol taste and the heat, it's not that easy to drink.

Overall, kind of a mess. Too much alcohol in the taste and feel makes for an unpleasant experience. A lower alcohol content could have made for a much better beer.

 841 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear bold copper with thin off white head.

S - Prunes, raisins, figs followed by big dose of banana with Christmas spices as it warms of nutmeg, ginger, cinamon and maybe a touch of eggnog. Spicy pepper also comes into play.

T - Sweet, juicy caramel, dark fruits, belgian candi sugar. Very sweet, near cloying mixed with candied fruits.

M - Medium to full body with low carbonation and slightly sticky.

D - Tasty but a little too sweet for me.

 452 characters

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

This seasonal comes in a 750ml. brown bottle with a code that looks like L0870 on the left side of the large front label. This brew pours a deep, dark mahogany with red highlights and a thick finger plus of tan head. The head recedes slowly and laces quite well.

The smell is sweet...really sweet, fruity and spicy. Most noticeable is banana, yeast, cotton candy and over-ripened plum.

The taste is equally as sweet and very fruity with some notable clove spice. Again, lots of banana, plum, cotton candy, yeast and a very subtle note of alcohol. Overall just a little too sweet with a lack balance to the finish. Light-medium body with acceptable carbonation for this style, the mouthfeel is a bit watery and the sweetness becomes a bit much, before long. Although quite drinkable with the alcohol hidden fairly well, my expectations for this brew were a bit stifled. Probably opt for a tastier holiday selection next time.

 926 characters

Photo of theopholis
3.47/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Deep, extremely clear brown with ruby hues when held to the light. The head is massive foamy light tan colored affair that refuses to die. Leaves a fair amount of lace, although there is little effervescencing. When it finally subsides a clingy sticky ring and lacing.

Smell- Lots of dark fruits off the starting line. Prunes, raisins, figs, etc. The dark fruit aroma is huge. Followed by a hint of banana esters. Very inviting, but also oddly fearsome.

Taste- Not nearly as complex as aroma let on. The anise comes through with a bit of some kind of candy sugar and cocoa. Again, lots of complex, dark fruits. As it warms, it gets better, but not that extremely rich, complex blend of tastes that a lot of Belgian holiday beers have.

M: Medium body. Low carbonation (which is to style).

Drinkability- Good, but not great. The taste had e a bizarre cafeteria feel to it.

 888 characters

Photo of BWH3
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown with red hues when held to the light. The head is massive foamy cocoa colored affair that refuses to die. When it finally subsides a clingy sticky ring and lacing.

S: I can discern anise, cola, cocoa, banana esters, raisin/prune. These aromas combine to form a savory enticing ale.

T: Not quite as complex as aroma let on. The anise comes through with a bit of cola. Phenol spice on the palate could be more. The heat in the belly is a nice kicker. The taste of the alcohol is a bit much.

M: Appropriately thin yet interestingly creamy taste. Amazing head retention and carbonation. Can not get any better.

D: A must try but one may be enough.

 662 characters

Photo of surfnebr
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, golden brown with a light head. Carbonation is light and lacing is limited.

The nose initially comes off with raisins, big malt, maple syrup with a light alcohol. As it warmed up you get more xmas spices; nutmeg, cinnamon, almost a malty egg nog.

This beer is a holiday party in your mouth. I poured about five minutes after I took it out of the fridge, and waited to drink it for ten minutes after that. Cranberries, cinnamon, egg nog, nutmeg, malt with much less booze than I expected. The mouth feel was much lighter than I thought it should be, and I liked it. This is a dangerous beer in that it goes down too smooth. This would be a hard beer to put down once you start, if you have more than one available.

The appearance did not do justice for the beer. Understand that beer is 10% + so the light appearance of the beer, lack of lacing was a bit surprising.

 876 characters

Photo of John_M
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's the other day.

The beer pours a a dark brownish amber color with very good head retention and lacing. This beer looks impressive. On the nose I get some cherry, cola and spice, all of which combines very nicely to make the aroma very enticing. On the palate this beer is just delicious. There is a delightful maraschino cherry flavor, coupled with cola, vanilla and chocolate. The beer is medium sweet, with a very long, smooth, rich finish. This beer is just decadent. Alcohol is pretty well disguised, though you can tell it's up there.

An excellent X-mas beer. The best I've had this year so far. Good stuff.

 629 characters

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

Sampled on-tap at the Kulminator in Antwerp, Belgium...

Pours a murky dark brown with tinges of mahogany topped by a frothy tan head. Smells quite yeasty and spicy, breadiness, cinnamon, clove and some strident aniselicorice aromas.

Taste evokes the holidays! Cinnamons, ginger, cloves and nutmeg are evident. Dark fruit and breadiness with a fair amount of anise. Very full bodied with a sweet finish and sweet spice and licorice in the finish. Nice warming from the ample alcohol as well.

Lovely x-mas beer!

 512 characters

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

Pours a clear dark red/almost purple color with some sediment. 2+ fingers of foamy beige-tan head made up of tiny bubbles has good retention and leaves nice lacing. Smells of caramel, sugar plums, bananas, molasses, butter, Christmas spices, bread, and alcohol. The taste follows the aroma; caramel, banana, molasses, bread, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and dark fruits with a touch of licorice and enough of an alcohol warmth in the finish. Medium to medium full in body with good carbonation, syrupy but smooth with a nice sweetness from both malt and fruit but a little medicinal as it warms. A nice holiday ale, but the high alcohol notes leaves it at a once a year type brew.

 676 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.49/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

Brouwerij Het Anker is supposedly one of the oldest working breweries in Belgium, dating back to the 1300s. Back in 2002, they started brewing Gouden Carlolus Noël after a 38-year hiatus. This dark Winter Ale is brewed with three different hops and six different herbs and spices.

Creamy-looking small-bubbled lace retains well, and the dark brown color displays a glowing clarity. Heavy aroma of dark malts, black pepper, bitter orange peel, earth, faint vanilla, black currants, lavender, a hint of fusel alcohol and other vague spice tones. Smooth and creamy mouth feel off of a full body. Beefy, with a juicy caramel malt splash up front. An alcoholic bite thrashes the taste buds. Spicy, with suggestions of white pepper. The fruity, alcoholic esters drop a tropical bomb. Kiwi, pineapple and papaya come to mind. This has hot fermentation written all over it. Unfortunately, the fi nish and aftertaste is dominated by this hard, lingering alcohol character, and it does not get better as the beer warms up. A mess.

 1,083 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.