Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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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

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Reviews: 498 | Ratings: 866
Photo of brewcrew76
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
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 Raligitano
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

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Photo of donniecuffs
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

At the Mohawk House in Sparta, NJ. Into a tulip, it poured an opaque brown, with one finger of tan head that both retained and laced well, with no visible carbonation. Smelled of big spiciness, sour plums, candied pears, and a hint of alcohol presence. The taste confirmed the candied pear presence first and foremost, along with sour plum and black cherry, and then finished on a sweet note, with the alcohol well-hidden throughout, or at least much moreso than in the nose. Smooth and of medium thickness; very little carbonation. Tastes like a nice warming beer, though the abundance of sour plum and pear almost made it too fruitcakey for me.

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Photo of dankbrew21
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 5/27/09

Bottle has a picture of Santa riding a sleigh pulled by horses instead of reindeer. Pured into my widemouth kasteel glass. Beautiful big head. Dark brown, almost no light coming through.

Aromas of sugar, slight banana and lots of spices. Tastes full flavored and warm! Has a slight coppery taste to it. No unpleasant alcohol burn but the warmth lets you know it's there. Some brown sugar and cinnamon come through. Very tasty indeed.

Medium drnkability.

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Photo of mjw06
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looked gorgeous in my snifter, rich head that left a faint lacing on top of a cherry black color.

The smell is of liquor, dark cherries, caramel, and a bit of tropical fruit. Very full smell that feels the nose. I'm sure there's much more in there that I had difficulty picking out.

Taste is full and mildly complex, but thin, and leaves only the taste of alcohol when its all said and done. I don't know if this more attributed to the taste or the feel, but either way, they don't work very well together. Every bit of flavor is just that, a bit, that hits at the beginning but disappears completely by the finish.

This style can be particularly difficult to drink, at least relative to the manner in which most drink other beers. But truthfully, when I drink a belgian dark, the warm alcohol taste and feel is of course expected, but I'd like to get cozy with a little more than that. This beer kind of fails in that area, as I wouldn't seek this beer out again, though I still think its a good beer/winter selection.

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Photo of TLove
3.61/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2009 bottle, poured into Chimay goblet. This beer comes alive once the top cracks open.

Excellent color but little to no retention and a thin, almost nonexistent brown head. Beer warms quickly and gives off some heavy dark fruit scents, coupled with currant, quince, and chocolate. Brown bread and black cherry in the mouth with some ground anise, licorice, and coriander seed (kind of like a sugary Anisette, which is made using these ingredients). A little cinnamon and nutmeg to throw in some complex Christmas flavors and give some serious spice depth to this beer.

The sheer viscosity and complexity of the beer can be a bit overwhelming at first, but as the carbonation winds down and the beer warms up, the beer reveals a sour, unbalanced construction that I did not expect from Brouwerij Het Anker. It doesn't break the beer, but it does make it a bit difficult to drink.

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Photo of rudzud
3.61/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken at the Armsby Abbey's yearly Belgian Christmas on 12/15.

*2008 Vintage*

A - Nice dark mahongany pour with a one finger head that is super thick leaving massive side lacing along with big thick clumps atop the brew.

S - Mostly subdued muted notes of dark fruits and licorice. Really nice sugar notes.

T - Powerful almost salty fruit notes. Kind of weird but theres a light olive and prune/dark fruit notes. Very random flavours with that salty interplay but there is some nice strong earth notes.

M - Light body with low carbonation. Not syrupy at all. Just feels great on the tongue.

D - Tastes really good but that odd saltyness throws me off. Light mouthfeel is good but some aspects of this dark ale could be better.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into snifter. Clear dark brown with ruby tinges and a thin, tan head. The aroma immediately lets you know what youre in for. Rich winey alcohol hit followed up by powerful orange-tart fruit notes with cinnamon and spice in the background. Flavour is packed with dried fruit, dark muscovado, figs and cherries. Chocolate malts also feature. Superbly balanced sweet-spice finish. The alcohol has an immediate impact with a warming glow spreading outwards. Very rich, full palate with light carbonation it carries the alcohol well.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It may be a bit ambitious for me to try to tackle this beer at almost 1:30 AM when I have to be up at 6AM...but what the heck. I have had some pretty mild beers so far tonight, so this will be my dessert. Let's give it a go:

Appearance: Pours very dark, but when you look at the stream poured into the glass, you can tell that the beer is pretty clear and has a bit of a reddish tint to it. There is a solid 3" head of antique white bubbles that was creamy looking and didn't look like it was going anywhere anytime soon. The head hadn't noticeably fallen in a few minutes, so I am diving in anyway. There is some solid lacing left on the glass after drinking the beer and the head never completely goes away. Even 15 minutes after the pour, there is still a rocky looking 1/8"+ head on the beer.

Aroma: Lots of fruity esters with dark fruits and bready yeasts along with some evident alcohol already. Definitely has the dark malt complexity of the finer Belgian beers with sweet almost resiny syrupy complexity. As the beer sits there is a little more hops noticeable, but they aren't challenging the elements of the malt and alcohol much, but they are starting to show up to add complexity, which is nice.

Taste: Dark fruit are the most predominant part of this beer, but the alcohol, carbonation and sweetness play on the palate big time. The beer is medium bodied, but the carbonation is high, so it masks any residual sugars well. There is sweetness in this beer that is quite bold and is giving a bit of a syrupy impression on the palate, but the attenuation and carbonation prevent the beer from getting cloying at all. The finish is all about the sweet, and even though there are some hops to taste, there isn't much in the way of balancing hops, so the sweetness runs wild on the palate for the finish.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer. The sweet balance is a little high for my taste, and that is surprising as I am a malt-head. The high carbonation really does a lot for this beer to make it more drinkable. I don't know what else to say other than that this is a good beer and that I would be proud to have brewed the equivalent...but there are a number of other beers in this category that pass this one up. This is a tough category. This beer is no slouch, but is only "pretty good" when held up to the greats in this category.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a large tan head. The first aroma is nothing but licorice, which is not a smell I really enjoy. As the beer airs out a bit, I get some prunes, cherries and Belgian yeast notes.

The flavor is also very heavy on the licorice. I also get a little roasted malt, caramel malt, cherries, prunes, yeast, brown sugar and some alcohol. Overall, the licorice is dominant.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A dark brown. Nice head retention. Nice lace on the glass.

S - Sweet. Bubblegum flavors.

T - Sweet. Malts are overwhelming. Honey flavors. Orange. Syrupy possibly

M - High carbonation. Medium bodied.

D - Its very tasty, but you are done after 1.

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Photo of letsgopens
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

This BSDA pours a cloudy woody brown with some bright amber highlights. The fluffy off white head recedes to just a bit of spotty lace.

Sweet molasses and fruit come out initially in the nose; dark and lighter fruit alike. Some toasty dark bread and a buttery character as well. Lots of sugary, candy-like sweetness as well.

Very sweet with lots a dark fruit; raisin, date, and some nice warmth. Rum soaked raisins come to mind. Again very candy-like in the sweetness. Raw sugar and somewhat syrupy. Some maraschino cherry and toasty bread in the finish. Like a old style fruit cake in a glass. The loaf kind soaked in rum or bourbon. Not this pansy bunt cake stuff!

Smooth and a bit syrupy with a velvety texture on the tongue. Plenty of warmth and moderate carbonation. A nice fruity/sweet/Belgian holiday treat. Not something I would necessarily drink during the warmer months though.

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Photo of babaracas
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep ruby-tinted brown with two fingers of creamy light brown colored foam, sheet of thin lace down half the glass. Smell: anise, caramelized banana, dark brown sugar, mint, nutmeg-realm spice, some hawaiian roll breadiness lurks behind all that. Taste: the anise hits early and often. Otherwise you've got a brown sugar and orange motif with black pepper, dates, pear. Medium-plus bodied, creamy feel, sticky and spice filled finish. It drinks like a 10.5% dessert christmas beer. Less anise would be much preferred. 21/07/2015 bottling.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.57/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 7/2013:
Pours dark brown, but with an obvious clarity when viewing the edges. Head is tan and builds up decently. Sustainability if head is great, and lacing is significant. Nose is toffee, some root beer, some other spices are obvious with a bit of heat, but also maybe a bit of diacetyl.

Taste is dark bread, sweet root flavors, rhubarb, some dark cherry, and perhaps some ginger and cinnamon. Later in the taste, the root beer flavor "evolves" into a mild peppermint flavor (might be imagining this), however I think this came across as alcohol burn when cold. Feel is around medium in body and smoothness; carbonation is a tad light considering head.

The "peppermint" flavor threw me a bit. This beer is a tad confusing, it has some good things going for it, but also some iffy notes.

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Photo of jeremy13586
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bottle from this past Christmas that I found tucked away.

The color was a very deep amber, with ruby around the edges. The head was a shade light of khaki and it disappear rather quickly.

I didn't get too much in the nose other than spice and alcohol. Some faint dark fruits.

Spicy and herbal. Some mint and booze. A bit of a sweet backbone. A bit muddy. Finishes with the slightest hint of chocolate.

Pretty smooth overall. Medium bodied.

I've had this in years past, but found it pretty unexciting this time around. I've only had it on draft before and found it to be more enjoyable in that format (or at least from what I can remember). I'll have to buy and drink a fresh bottle next winter and see how it compares.

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Photo of TMB0424
3.54/5  rDev -10.8%
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 Travlr
3.54/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 1 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown color with a thick white long lasting head. Chocolate and roasted coffee aroma. Very strong alcohol taste throughout. Some notes of semi-sweet chocolate and malt with used coffee grounds. Slightly bitter finish. Average all the way.

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Photo of RickS95
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep creamy brown, slightly purple hues mixed in. Very thick. The head is slow forming with small brown bubbles and good retention.

Lots of spices fill the nose, along with a healthy dose of malt and plenty of dark, ripe fruits. The high ABV also comes through giving it a port-like scent.

It's malty, very wine-like and even tastes 'thick.' Lacing is really good. Alcohol in the finish.

It's a bit on the sweet side. Can't say it enough, it's thick. It really coats your tongue. A bit of heat from the alcohol in the finish. Despite the sweetness and stickiness, it's slightly dry with an earthy finish.

It's not a bad beer and it's something I could drink a couple of an not be disappointed, but there are some rough edges to prevent it from being a really good beer.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 12/23/2010:

#9 - 12 beers of Christmas. 750 mL bottle at 42* into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: This pours a very dark brown color with amber hues and a thick, two-finger head of heavily carbonated white foam.

S: The nose shows aromas of bananas, booze-soaked dark fruits, and spicy earthiness. I wish there was more to it.

T: The taste is of plums, ripe red grapes, bananas, brandy, and a spicy yeast character.

M: The body is medium with average carbonation and a sticky and somewhat hot finish.

D: This is a bit boozier than I'd prefer and it wasn't very complex.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
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 Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff.

The beer appears dark chestnut brown with a formidable khaki head. Ample lacing and lasting head retention. The aroma offers malt, sweet spice, brown sugar, dark fruit, alcohol. Sweet breads, dark fruit, spices, malt, brown sugar, and Christmas cookies in the flavor. Quite sweet throughout - I am glad to be splitting this bottle. Licorice, candies, decadent holiday sweets, fruitcake. Complex and well done, though a bit cloying for my taste. The feel is thin to medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Overall, a bit too sweet, though well done and enjoyable. Best in small quantities.

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Photo of meatmallet
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown in color with a thick foamy tan head. Head is creamy looking and lasts forver.

Smell: Smell is full of dark malts, orance peel, spices, and vanilla.

Taste: Taste has the sxpected spice flavors with a little hint of pepper. The alcohol mixes nicely with carmel malt and toffee. A little bitter on the finish.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Full body and medium carbonation make it easy to drink. The after taste is not as good as should be expected.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours emerald with a loose tawny fast-fading head that leaves only trailers of lace. Nose is strawberries and clove with some bubblegum and caramel - mouthwatering! Light chocolate and all spice up front, Belgian yeast is there, an ester pop, and tutti frutti to finish. A tight ginger beer linger. Chewy and fizzy with plenty of burn.

Some interesting flavors but too hot and estery to be very drinkable.

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Photo of devilishprune
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gouden Carolus Noel 12/11/10

A. Dark brown with red highlights when held up to a light. No head retention

S. Mainly licorice, with the alcohol scent hidden very well.

T. Taste follows the nose, but this beer tastes strangely like an undercarbonated Coke. Alcohol is still hidden very well. Very sweet at the beginning.

M. Light body, but very high carbonation.

D. The high alcohol will sneak up on you in this one, I would say that it's pretty drinkable.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.97 out of 5 based on 866 ratings.
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