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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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BA SCORE
89
very good
483 Reviews
THE BROS
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poor
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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
Reviews:
483
Ratings:
836
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.1%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
97
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 483 | Ratings: 836
Photo of BierReise
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

75cl Corked bottle No date. Poured a hazy deep amber color with a thin tan head which settled to a thin film. Aroma has a sugary sweetness to it, some bready malt and fruit overtones. Alcohol shows up as it warms. Has a medium body that is smooth with a crispy finish. Flavor is sweet with malt almost barley style. Some fruit and a bit of spiciness also detectable. Overall not a bad seasonal.

 394 characters

Photo of rand
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From bottle to wine glass

Aged for 1 year

A: Pours out a dark brown, completely opaque, forming a big fluffy head. Amazing retention - as it very slowly recedes, the brew leaves a wall of sticky lacing.

S: The nose is ripe fruits and freshly baked sweetbread. Big tropical tones accent the fruity profile...mango, papaya, banana. Alcohol volatiles and carbonation stream the yeasty brew - powerful aroma.

T: The fruity esters dominate the front of the sip and the tropical tones of the nose are immediately noticed. Figs, raisins, and a raspberry/strawberry candy tinge join in. The alcohol warms but doesn't bite - surprisingly subdued for it's style and ABV. Although there are the many described layers of flavor, there's little to balance the sweet, fruity onslaught, and the sugary sweetness can be a bit much. Finishes sweet and sticky.

M: Rich, creamy, frothy. Carbonation is light, and the full-bodied complexion leaves a trail of residue with each swallow.

D: Definitely meant to be sipped. This brew is far from boring, but it's not delicious: there are a lot of sweet fruity layers to be pondered and observed, but the flavor profile is disjointed. It might take me awhile to drink through this.

Notes: The brew has a lot of interesting characteristics and an expansive flavor profile. And I love Het Anker. But ultimately there's just too much going on and the multitude of tastes almost confuse your palate. Although I like beers with unique and complicated profiles, I like the flavors to blend into a sort of singularity. This brew's flavors, although interesting and distinct, are conflicting and awkward.

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Photo of paterlodie
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BB16-10-06. Good brown head and nice darkbrown almost black beercollor. Nose is very esterfruity making it into a bubblegum and bananamix. Some darkmalt arome comming trough aswell as some candy and high alcohol content obvious. Taste is sweet and alcoholic with good roastnote that goes well with the alcohol and bitterness aswell as a good nutty arome. Highly carbonated with it making taste even more bombastic but IMO very unbalanced to the sweet and alcoholic side. Certainly something else and drinkable but to me one glass is enough.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
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 theopholis
3.47/5  rDev -12.8%
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 jahred
3.47/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Had a glass of the Gouden Carolus Noel at my winter beer tasting with friends. Pours a very red color with slight brown tones and a medium-to-small head.

The scent? I wasn't able to describe the strong scent of this beer. Something sweet. Maybe anise? Licorice? Some other spice. It's very noticeable, but I wasn't able to come up with the right words for a decent descrption. Interesting, that's for sure.

The taste is minty, with licorice and anise tones. As it warmed, the best word I came up with was "meaty." Not really sure what that means or how it applies to beer, but as with the scent, this beer really confused me. The mouthfeel, as expected with something described as meaty, was quite heavy.

Though very interesting, this beer was very hard to drink. Maybe it would be easier if consumed with some red meat, but it's certainly not a sipping beer.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
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 JanM
3.44/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is supposed to be an exceptional beer but I have to say that I was not that impressed. It had a nice dark red-brown color and good beige foam. But the smell was rather faint. The taste was sweet and fruit-candy like with a streak of must. Alcohol burn in the throat and some liqourice taste after a while. It's a beer that will not disappoint anyone but I think it lacks a distinctive character. Maybe I got a bad bottle?

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL cork-n-cage bottle that could be a year or two old as the label has some wear. Served in a Chimay chalice on Christmas eve. Pours a deep garnet with a 1 finger tan head that reduces to a quarter inch of creamy foam. Smells of holiday spices and some malts. The most prominent flavors are cinnamon and anise, but they're followed with spiciness, yeast, ginger?, clove?, and alcohol. Good spices, but not enough beer flavor. The body is medium to thick and it's easy enough to drink for the 10% beer it is, but I was expecting something more from my first winter Belgian.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. bottle served in my Gouden Carolus chalice. Lot number 12071 indicated on the back label. Pours a dull mahogany hue with a consistent, 1.5 inch, light tan head the sizzles and pops as it slowly recedes into a clumpy quarter inch cap. Nose suggests dark fruit, anise and orange Aspergum. Tastes pretty much like it smells - no real surprises here. There's also a slightly oxidized quality that comes out towards the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium (but closer to light) with an even carbonation that falls just shy of being lively. There's also just a kiss of residual heat that lingers between quaffs as well as a slight acidity. Overall, not a bad example of the style, but not my favorite from this brewer. Not sure what a little age might do to this, but it might be worth laying down a bottle for a year or two.

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Photo of truthbrew
3.41/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2004 vintage, served at 54F. Pours a crimson with brown hints, unstable brown fluffy (but short lived) head. Dominate aroma is anise which almost covers the alcohol. I am not particularily fond of anise, but this beer did improve and it seemed to blend as the bottle slowly emptied (wow... 750ml of 10.5% abv can take a bit). Feels chewy thick in the mouthfeel. More anise on the exhale.

I am a fan of all other Het Anker beers, so hard to fault this for anything other than personal preference, which makes this review harder. Will review again in a few weeks then again in a year or two, but this I will need to warm up to a bit. A great candidate for cellaring and I'm sure that the strong anise will die down after a long cold conditioning.

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Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
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 Sludgeman
3.39/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle on 1/8/11, $5.29/11.2oz, poured into a tulip.

A "winter warmer" for sure, but a complex mess and an ugly pour. The alcohol will sneak up on you, but it does not balance the malty sweetness. Not a drain pour, but never again. A very disappointing beer based on my previous experience with and general affection for Carolus. 3.25

A – Pours a cloudy, murky, muddy brown (-) with a beige mousey one-finger head, totally opaque, good lacing. 2.75

S – Sweet port-like, vinous, alcohol – a little whiskey, definitely raisins and figs, spiciness is faint to non-existent. 3.75

T – Sweet malt, some liqueur qualities. 3.25

MF – Medium-bodied, some alcohol warmth in the finish and lasting on the palate, not solventy but close. 3.75

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Photo of rustymoore
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours an deep brown with large creamy tan that seems to last forever with excellent lacing. Easily best part about this beer.

S: Interesting but nothing that could really pick out...I think there might be too much going on in the aroma.

T: Ok but really just tastes more like a mediocre Belgian rather than much of a Christmas beer. Very sweet (too much so in my opinion) somewhat watery with several fruit notes coming through as well as caramel.

M: Somewhat flat after I expected a good amount of carbonation.

D: Definitely wouldn't recommend more than a sampling of this...too sweet.

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Photo of Cozzatoad
3.36/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle, a leftover from the christmas season at a local pub

A- Very dark brown. Light brown head that has a lot of small bubbles but disappears too quickly, leaving some lacing around the glass

S- Strong sweet malts with some caramel, liquorice and dark fruits undertones. That would be very nice if it wasn't for a strong metallic alcohol aroma that gets too dominant

T- The flavour range is wide and very interesting. At first you feel a porto-like taste, probably from the sweet malts, that is not uncommon with quads. Then you can also feel that the beer is creamy, with some stoutish undertones to it (toffee, liquorice). There are some more flavours that come along with the malt (caramel, dark fruits). Plus, there is also a strong and spicy alcoholic feel that gets very strong at times

M- A wide range of flavours as i mentioned, but really badly mixed up. This beer has a big and wonderful creamy body that is meant to feel smooth, but there are a lot of issues. First, flavours can be felt only at times and then they vanish in the following sips, this beer feels uncanny. Second, the alcohol is too strong, burns the palate and ruins the creamy feel. Third, a roasted feel that has nothing to do with what the beer is meant to be shows up at times and makes this beer even stranger

D- As just pointed out, this beer is badly mixed up. It is also a bit stomaching, so the drinkability really takes a big hit

This beer has what it takes to be a great beer (a big and yet smooth body, a great range of flavours) but it is badly balanced. That's a shame

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a snifter

Appearance – Pours a chestnut/mahogany color with a two finger tan colored head. The head has a good level of retention slowly fading over time to leave a great level of lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma has a big spicy and roasty aroma. There is a strong roasted bready aroma mixed with notes of Christmas spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, anise and licorice). These stronger aromas are accompanied by notes of dark fruits, a lighter yeasty smell as well as a moderate presence of a boozy smell.

Taste – The taste starts with flavors a blend of roasted malt breadiness and some dark fruit flavors of raisin and prune. Spice flavors of nutmeg, licorice and anise then come to the tongue. At this point the tastes create a rather smooth flavor on the tongue. The breadiness and sweeter flavors of the dark fruits start to fade. A more red wine like flavor then starts coming to the tongue. It starts out light and smooth, but gets more tannin like in flavor as the taste moves to the end. At the end, the boozy taste is quite strong and with all the flavors it leaves a nice warming aftertaste that tasted somewhat like a mix of warming spiced mulled wine fruity brew to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is on the medium side in its creaminess for a brew of 10.5 % with a carbonation level that was a little on the higher side. for the style it was rather nice creating a good drinkability but yet keeping one in check of its strength.

Overall- This is a rather nice Belgian Christmas brew. It has a decent boozy flavor, but yet is still very flavorful and pleasant to drink.

 1,650 characters

Photo of goochpunch
3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours out the color of water after having soaked raisins in it with a thinnish, off-white, frothy head. Leaves some scattered lace. Smell is of anise, all-spice, cinnamon, ginger, and citrus peel along with some spiciness from the yeast, some dark, brown-sugary malts, and a touch of alcohol. The licorice/cinnamon thing reminds me of biscochitos which would be very apropros for a holiday beer. Taste is overwhelmed by anise and fennel seed flavors with the other spices regulated to the background. Malt sweetness is prevalent though. Mouthfeel is not too thick or heavy considering the sweetness and the carbonation is lively. The anise is a bit much for me and hinders drinkability.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.32/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this from a tap at the Map Room into a chalice.

The beer pours dark brown with a light tan decent retention and lacing.

The aroma is light with a little spice, same thing with the taste.

The feel is ok, the drinkability is limited.

Overall, not a great the feel is to light, the taste is light and too much spice.

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Photo of illidurit
3.31/5  rDev -16.8%
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 grittybrews
3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured cola black with a finger of fluffy khaki head. Strong, sweet aroma of molasses and licorice spice.

Moderate carbonation and a thick, creamy, borderline-syrupy mouthfeel. Intense, almost overpowering black licorice sweetness up front with caramel and hints of banana, citrus, and spice. Quite a bit of boozy warmth on the finish.

Sugary licorice really overpowers this beer, rendering it cloying and almost Jägermeister-like. Hard to have too much.

 457 characters

Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.29/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

0.33l bottle poured in a chalice.

Decent Belgium Dark Strong Ale. Nice spicy and fruity perfume.

A: Nice Brown/Amber color. Quite clean
S: Dark fruits (plum and grapes) and spices
T: Strong. ABV is high and you can fell it. Sweet toffee. Belgium yeasts (less relevant). Rum. Smells better than tastes
M: Sweet in the beginning and bitter in the end. Soft carbonation and strong alcohol taste
D: Low drinkability. Too strong taste for me. Might be a good beer but overloaded me...

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Photo of WillCarrera
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle, bottled on 09/08/11, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a slightly weird shade of murky, dark brown, topped with a nice, thick off-white head that leaves good lacing.

S- Interesting aroma, lots of sweet dark malts, fruit, and a lot of christmas-ey spices (clove, nutmeg, allspice).

T- Lots of sweet dark malts, fruit, and some light spiciness, but from the middle through to the finish the flavor is dominated by a huge combination of vinous, anise and boozy flavors. It's simultaneously too sweet and too vinous. Weird. Bad.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel, the booziness isn't quite as noticeable here and is only a bit warm.

O- This was pretty bad. The anise, sweetness and vinous flavors are all in the wrong proportions, and produce a beer that doesn't fit together and isn't fun to drink. Pass.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into large snifter

Pours a deep almost purpley blacked out color with a beige head resting on top. Faint retention with some spotty lacing on the glass.

Rich malts with a plethora of dark fruits. Candied notes with raisin, date, and fig. Sweet but still malty and somewhat boozy.

Dark fruits up front with a hint of burnt sugar. Dates and figs with some candied notes. Decent malt backbone, somewhat roasty, caramel and molasses notes are present. There's a faint metallic note somewhere in here too. Warming alcohol is present throughout, especially towards the finish.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, a little chewy and soft on the tongue. Pretty much middle of the pack for the style here, but not bad.

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Photo of Todd
3.26/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from the 2002 Kerstbierfestival, Essen, Belgium.

Dark brown with a snapping, dissipating head. Big alcohol aroma that's port-like. Some butter, herbal and fruitiness. Semi-prickly start on the palate, smoothing into a big malt character of caramel, toffee and coffee. Notes of grape. Spicy alcohol. Dry, yeasty finish. Warming.

 336 characters

Photo of vanrassel
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Let me preface what is going to be a contrarian review by saying I like — no, love — big Belgian beers. I absolutely adore Carolus d'Or Cuvée van de Keizer, too. But after two big bottles of Noel, I can't proclaim its greatness.

This beer's look and aroma hint at good things: a rich mahogany body with a compact beige head and a nice mix of yeast, prunes, dried fruit, black licorice and brown sugar for the nose.

That nice complexity doesn't transfer to the palate, however. Sharp alcohol, black licorice and a strong medicinal taste preface a dry, powdery yeast finish. The carbonation is moderate and the body feels right, but I just never warmed up to this beer — and not for lack of trying.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.98 out of 5 based on 836 ratings.
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