Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
Liked This Beer
3.93 w/ 870 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gusler on 11-24-2002

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 870 |  Reviews: 499
Photo of corby112
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

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Photo of Flup
2.48/5  rDev -36.9%
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

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Photo of gerardoluna
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
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

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Photo of rye726
4.51/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of bkilpatr
2.18/5  rDev -44.5%
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.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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Photo of scottoale
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

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Photo of theopholis
3.47/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

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Photo of BWH3
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

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Photo of surfnebr
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Photo of John_M
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
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!

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Photo of HopDerek
3.97/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
2.49/5  rDev -36.6%
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.

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Photo of macster
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy maroonish-brown hue with a huge, dense and durable off-white head. Thick lacing prevails throughout the glass.

Rich, fragrant aromas of raisin, fig, yeast, gingerbread, anise and dark caramel prevail.

Mouthfeel is exqisitely silky smooth and creamy. Very full and round.

Taste certainly does not disappoint with a blast of overwhelmingly delicious flavors to match the aroma along with a subtle presence of cocoa and licorice.

Superb drinkability with the 10% alcohol well hidden behind the plethora of flavors. A real classy holiday treat, even on a warm May night in Florida.

 600 characters

Photo of Derek
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Chestnut brown without any sediment, tan head, little retention, nice lace.

S: Dark fruit, orange rind (Curacao?), pleasant non-descript spicing, floral hops, fruit bread with candied fruit. More alcohol as it warms.

T: Very fruity, candied fruit, dark fruit, bready, nice spicing, marmalade, slight bitterness, alcohol is remarkably subtle.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body, moderate carbonation, warming alcohol finish.

D: Quite drinkable for its strength.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best by date of 8/21/2010
750ml bottle, caged and corked

Pours a dark amber/ruby color with plenty of head, great retention, lots of patchy lacing.

Smell has a mild yeasty quality, mainly malt and brown sugar, sweet yet not overly aromatic, slight banana presence.

Taste is way too sweet, syrupy and sugary for its own good, nice buttery slickness though, heavy malt presence that dominates any subtle spices, some dark fruit lingers around but is also pushed to the back.

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Photo of ROMER79
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter 2007 bottle

The pour was a nice one, a nice dark brown with a thick fluffy three finger head with great retention. The head laces the glass for a good while. Right off the bat I could catch caramel and chocolate in my first sniff. There may even be hints of nuts and fruit, but I definitely caught the alcohol fragrance. It tasted almost like chocolate cake with caramel and roasted malts at first, but after a few sips I caught the strong alcoholic after notes. The mouthfeel is chewy and thick and drinkability is good, but this is definitely a beer to sip and enjoy.

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Photo of bditty187
4.74/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Murky, reddish brown in hue, the color is actually kind of attractive which is odd for the "style." Beige head, at the apex the foam was a half finger tall. Head retention was decent; a tight, firm cap lasted a few minutes before turning to a soapy cap that lasted the entire consumption. Sadly, there wasn't much subsequent lacing. Still, overall, the appearance was quite pleasant.

The nose offers a good amount of dark fruits and brandy before yielding to some awesome bubblegum aromas and spice. The more I smell this the more the fruit turns from generally dark to tropical with apricots, pears, and apples. Oh wait there is more! I get hints of vanilla, banana, nutmeg, cloves, coco, and some caramel. The nose is quite impressive, robust and complex but not brutish. The nose offers moderate-high potency... it is chatty and, yes, quite inviting. I can't wait to take a sip.

The palate is generally fruity, lightly buttery with wonderful bubblegum notes and a caramel/chocolate malt backbone not to mention some molasses and light brandy-rum flavors. Fruitiness includes: apples, figs, pears, peaches, apricots, dates, apples, and some melons. Rich. Deep. I love the subtle spiciness, cloves, nutmeg, peppermint, peppery, coriander too. Amazing. Licorice, fruitcake, cola as well... the finish is so smooth and so sweet. I am so impressed with palate; I love everything Gouden Carolus and Noel is no exception. This is one of the best Belgian Abbey-style beers I have ever had. This is simply a great beer.

Big aftertaste, lingering sweetness with some spiciness too... oh so pleasant, so rewarding. Medium in body, moderately low carbonation, the mouthfeel is heavenly.

Dear Nebraska BAs, I will do my best to get this beer into Nebraska next winter. No promises of course but God do I want it! This beer freaking rocks... it is so rich, so complex and yet so light and easy to drink. The alcohol is hidden aside from the belly warming and brain fuzziness. I bought my 750ml bottle in Lawrence, KS and if I knew it was anywhere this good I would have bought more. I can't overstate how lovely a quaff this is. Wow. Highly recommended!

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Photo of Gehrig
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed this at the sterling Sun Singer. Noel pitches a cloudy brown with ruby trim, topped with three fingers of foamy white head, excellent. The nose is full of fruit, particularly dried fruit, and spices. Lots of berry, plum, raisin, molasses, and cinnamon.

Terrific taste, well balanced with sweet fruit in harmony with dried fruit. Each mouthful brings either or in creamy fashion, doing so much to make this as special as it with an outstanding mouthfeel. This is truly excellent beer. The drinkability suffers slightly only because of the wooziness I felt near the end of the bottle. The high ABV (10.5%) does kick in, but that's more than easy to take.

Tremendous BSDA, one of my favorites.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle

Been sitting on this one for over a year.

Poured into a tulip a nice brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, some nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty with some yeast, figs, raisins, plums, and some nice tones of caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, very nice tones of dark fruit and caramel. Medium body, a nice balance/complex brew. Very drinkable, another awesome brew from these guy's, highly recommended.

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Photo of jenjenbelanger
4.84/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my very first review so please bear with me! I will get better at this!! Had this beer on draft just before Christmas at my local pub. Served in a snifter. Smell extremely aromatic. Taste Heavenly. Definately a holiday beer with many complex spices and fruit flavors. Heavy, full bodied, nothing missing in this beer. One glass per sitting for me. Loved this beer so much I searched high and low to buy some for my Christmas Eve party. Needless to say, everyone wanted more and it can't be found!!! Next year I will buy a case and HIDE IT!

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Photo of acrawf6
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a clear dark amber brown with a frothy tan head. Was a little suprised there was no sediment.

Smell. Sweet with a dominant candy banana smell and a little apple. The banana gives it a nice creaminess in the aroma.

Taste. Certainly on the sweet side, initial tastes of bananas, but then a yogurt like fruitiness really kicks in with the creaminess. Aftertaste is warming and gets just a small touch of a spice. Very interesting malt character.

Mouthfeel. Body really fills out despite the large amount of carbonation. The full body seems to get fuller as it warms and the alcohol comes through.

Overall, an interesting beer that's flavor is quite different than most others in the style. I like it, but i think there are others i would go after when in the mood.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
Beer rating: 72.5% out of 100 with 870 ratings
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