Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

very good
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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 beerking1
4.26/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, almost opaque, until raised to the light, when beautiful garnet highlights shine through. Head is huge, leaving a tan lace on the glass with each sip. Aroma is dark malt, candi suger and loads of dark fruit, including figs, dates and even some figgy pudding. Alcohol notes shine through in aroma. Flavor reveals more candi sugar, alcohol and dark fruits. Warming all the way down, leaving rich dark chocolate aftertaste. Body is suitably light for a Belgian style beer.

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Photo of CWiggins
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, another Christmas ale! One of several I picked up at Sam's Quik Stop just two nights ago. I had this one just a few months ago, but no review followed. Date on bottle: 03/08/10.

Pours dark brown with a very high and creamy head that is sustained for quite some time. The smell is of licorice and raisons, with dark malts and spices. Flavor-wise, the front is sweet and full of dark fruit, while the finish is bready and slightly hoppy. There is also a smokey character to the middle and finish. It's very smooth, but a bit thin for my taste. I love spicey Christmas ales; this may be one of my favorite versions!

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Photo of goochpunch
3.32/5  rDev -16.4%
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 Stoneman78
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed at the 2007 Strong Ale festival
A- Murky amber hue, thin layer of white frothy head, spotty lacing
S- Licorice and spice, dark fruits (raisins and plums), floral hops and spice
T- Initial taste dominated by licorice/anise and raisins, touch of chalk and smoke, dark plums and figs, slight berries and brown sugar, warming alcohol
M- Medium-bodied, watery texture, mild carbonation
D- Smooth and fruity beer full of winter spices, alcohol presence is stiff and limits drinkability

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 ML bottle picked up at the Boise Coop for $4.75; poured into my standard red wine glass.

Pours a deep burgandy red with a nice 3/4 inch lite tan head. Crystal clear and with no yeast haze (the bottle says "refermented in the bottle, I don't believe it") and absolutely no yeast left in the bottle.

Aromas of fruitcake and spices ... almond cake ... make that rum cake, but all of that plays a second fiddle to the sweetness and the "yeastiness".

Wow, I must start paying better attention to Belgian Holiday brews .... this is really good .... really really good. Definately a sipper, but no reason to hold that against it. Flavor is complex and at the same time all over the place ... it bounces all over your tounge. Sweet, peppery ... I get ginger and a little sweet orange peel.... maybe a little metallic but I could be imagining things. I can't say it enough ... big and uniting fruitiness ... plums, cherries and applesauce. Finishes enough oddly enough with a long but lite and lingering young port. Nice carbonation, but possibly a little aggressive; sorta lightly rips the flavors away, I think it would be fine with a slightly less carbonation level.

Don't know what to say about this brewing company, I remember loving their amber and triple... but this was something pretty special. I will probably pick up a 4-pack for the cellar even though I don't believed they're bottle conditioned.

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Photo of BeerSox
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle into 8oz snifter.

Very dark red, with lighter ruby red highlights in the light. A light tan one finger head develops, then slowly settles to a thin rim along the glass.

Strong sugary and candy like fruit aromas are very noticeable. A little bit of spice is there, and the phenols seem low. The alcohol makes its way through, but more when the beer warms.

The flavor of this one is very interesting. The standard fruity flavors are there, which makes it very sweet. But there is a very odd flavor mixed in from the spices, which tastes almost like pepperoni, which is more distinct in the aftertaste. My only guess is this is just a phenolic flavor. It seems a little out of place, but it doesn't make the beer awful or anything. It's just an odd characteristic. Medium bodied with good carbonation. The finish is loaded with that weird spicy flavor.

Even though this one tastes like it was "dry-hopped" with kielbasa, it still seems to be a pretty good brew. I'm sure other people will interpret the flavors as something else. Recommended.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours off brown with generous white head. Very carbonated.

Nose is rich with brown spices, holiday dessert baking, some citrus and molasses.

Very full bodied with alcohol warmth, some curry powder, dessert spices, and ginger/cinnamon.

Finish is very long, with cocoa powder, and alcohol. Warms you up quite well.

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Photo of wardough
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the local YardHouse.

Overall-awesome. A great sipper on a cold winter night.
A: Poured on tap into a goblet. about 1/2 in head that disperses to lacing.
S: Figs, raisins, cognac. It's a party down there. Jump on in.
T: It's definitely a party. The alcohol warms you up, followed by the sweet taste of figs and raisins.
M: Heavy mouthfeel. Very light carbonation.
D: I drank a few of these and they went down with ease. For the style, very easy to drink.

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Photo of riversider76
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours redish brown,with a thin tan head. Not much retention,and just a bit of lacing. Aroma is of cherry cola,licorice,spice,and dark fruits. Body is medium to heavy with a bit of carbonation. Taste is of dark sweet cherries,spice,and black licorice.Excellent!

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Photo of timtim
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured a ruby reddish brown with a big, light tan colored head. great head retention and beautiful lace. from the nose, i got fruit (just a little banana and some dark), spice (clove, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, licorice), roasted malt and some dark sugar. taste exhibited all the same and was definitely full of different tastes every sip. full, soft, creamy, velvety and well carbonated. only the belgians seem to be able to make their beers so full bodied and so weightless feeling at the same time. a little bit of a booze finish and some spice that might not appeal to everyone, but i can imagine this being near perfect as an after Christmas dinner beer.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a sheer brown color. The head is massive, billowy, and off white. The aroma is immense. It was noticeable even during the pour. Soft spices, lavender, and flowers. The taste is very floral, with a hint of cream. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a velvety texture. Overall, this is a very good beer.

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Photo of brentk56
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a mysterious brown color with a nice beige head that drops to a film but leaves a curtain of lace

Smell: Dr. Pepper and licorice are most apparent, along with tones of cinnamon and nutmeg; clearly some alcohol, too

Taste: Starts out with the licorice and Dr. Pepper taste, which gets sweeter by mid-palate; after the swallow, a whole range of fruit and spices appear, including cardamom, vanilla, pineapple, orange peel and cinnamon. There are some dark fruit flavors in there, too. Some alcohol is apparent in the finish as well.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: Well here we have Christmas in July; the beer has settled down somewhat, based on some complaints about fusel alcohol; it should be cellared for six months to a year to let everything mellow out

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Photo of beckje01
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Very dark amber look with a thick quarter inch head.

S- Nice fruity nose with some malt background.

T- Some orange and spice, which is a nice mix of the two. And a good solid malt background.

M- Good thickness with the right amount of carbonation.

D- Sipper but nice and fun to share.

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Photo of KingG
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 edition.
Poured into my Duvel tulip glass and served at cellar temp.

Appearance is very good. Dark red/almost purple colored beer with a very nice plump, light mocha colored head. No murkiness yet haunting with a dark shadow-like appearance. Very nice lacing coats the inside of the glass as well.

Smell is good. Sweet, fruity malts jump out with an earthiness that's welcome. Belgian yeast fragrance is there as well.

Taste is above-average. Bubblegum, unripe plum, raisins and a HUGE alcohol burst initially. The alcohol was almost over-bearing in the taste at first. After a few sips you get used to it though. However, i wish it wasn't so prevalent in the taste. Burped and it tasted like bubblegum.

Mouthfeel is good. The heat from the alcohol in the back of the throat takes away a point. Other than that, a perfectly carbonated beer.

Drinkability is above-average. One 750ML bottle was enough.

Overall: A decent Belgian beer that's a little rough around the edges. I'm hoping the alcohol fumes calm down when i age a few bottles.

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Photo of weeare138
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 750 mL corked & caged bottle from this past release...
Appears a murky, amber-toned brown with a small, creamy tan head that slowly fades into a floating cap of milky froth. Plenty of scattered chunks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of fig, raisins, caramel, candi-sugar, apples, anise, cinnamon, molasses, and brown sugar.
Taste is of the blended aromas in a sugary, plumy mix that has hints of tobacco leaf and doughy yeast.
Mouthfeel is medium/full bodied, sugary sweet up front with a smooth, warming cake-like dessert enjoyability.

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Photo of jeffaz02t
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark, with a red hue. Nice thick head.

S: Spicy, with alcohol being very apparent.

T: Warm alcohol, spicy, very very malty.

M: Med. heavy, average carbonation.

D: Great great great. I love this beer. Could drink all night, but would end up on the floor if I did!

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Photo of GregMcQ
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Bruges during my last visit there (on recommendation by the store owner).

Pours with a very light head; dissipated quickly to just whisps of head on the top. The head-color was an off-white... not quite cream, but close. Color of the body was a deep caramel; almost a rose-brown color; very clear.

Smell is what initially sold me on the idea that this is a really good beer... my first thought was "licorice"; followed by spices; a very strong nose to this one. This is a big beer.

Taste... for me at least, I could definitely taste a sweet-licorice; maybe the candi sugar? It's a sweet beer, as a lot of the strong dark ales are, but it's also a BIG beer... very tasty and very full.

It's billed as a Christmas beer... I can definitely see why.

This one goes on to my "Buy List" next time I'm in Belgium. A very good beer.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a very creamy, thick full finger head that is just off-white. Slowly, every so slowly melting to very, very sticky lacing while maintaining dense cream-type head.

Aroma is just a touch of bubblegum under the sweet amber malts and Belgium sugars.

Tastes of golden candy malts...nicely sweet and warming for a holiday season. Some fruitiness in the swallow along with hefty alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth...Aftertaste is sweet malts and a little of the bubblegum noticed before. Alcohol continues to warm all of the way down for a very long time.

This is a big bottle. It will take a good hour and a half to finish it alone.
Poor me.
Poor poor pitiful me.

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

Dark cloudy brown with some white head. Great aroma of choclate and spice, vanilla, and citrus orange. Very smooth mouthfeel, and while all of the tastes do not materialize boldy, it is very tasty and refreshing.A great brewery.
thanks for bringing in IPFreely.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy brown color ale with a huge foamy head with great retention and good lacing. Aroma of sweet candy and anis is dominating and quite enjoyable and almost reminiscent of Rochefort. Taste is a nice mix between strong Belgian malt, sweet candy and anis. There is some sweetness but it never goes overboard and provides great balance with some light typical Belgian yeast. It appears that this brewery just won’t stop to amaze me with all those great beers.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Two finger thick light khaki colored head. Has a deep rich dark ruby red full body. Head does dissipate rather quickly and leaves behind good sticky lacing.

Malty, honey, and leathery. Some herbal spices and floral hops aroma too. Alcoholic aroma is very present. Altogether, it kind of reminds me of the aromas of my father's smokeless tobacco as well.

I taste many spices too include cinnamon and maybe nutmeg. I also detect hints honey and ginger.

This brew has a very full body. It is also very warm to the palate.

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Photo of petemoss14
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle.

Pours a deep ruby color with a creamy tan head that settles to thin blanket that clings.

Wonderfully full aroma. Sweet anise/licorice asserts itself confidently. Esters of grape and plum. Cherry and, dare I say, roasted pear. Or perhaps pear poached in mulled wine or port. Spicy phenols -- clove, and a touch of cinnamon. These warm spices are accompanied by something a bit brighter as well -- cardamom perhaps. Not sure if I want to drink this, then there'd be nothing left to smell!

Oh, so creamy smooth on the palate. More fruit on the palate. Sweet but not cloying. Again, roasted -- a bit of caramel -- pear comes to mind, studded with cardamom. Cinammon and cocoa. Sultanas. More sweet anise. Actually finishes dry -- like a dusting of cocoa, with a touch of bitterness at the back of the tongue.

Really, this beer is simply delicious. I wish I had some almond biscotti, as I think this would be the perfect accompaniment. Definitely my favorite Belgian Noel, and also my favorite Carolus. Seek it out!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750ml bottle. Medium brown color, thin head, well-carbonated. It had a fruity and spicy aroma. A dark fruit taste, with warming spices. Pleasant enough, but I wouldn't want a lot in one sitting. I'm not sure the fruit and spice combination works that well for me, but at the same time it does seem a little different from the typical Christmas beers.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two-fingered creamy white head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Cloudy mahogany color. Strong carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Raisin/plum nose. Flavor - sweet raisin, caramel and spices, high ABV is noticeable. Nice Christmas ale. 750ml bottle, gift from Liquid Solutions Oregon City Or.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From a 750 ml brown bottle, caged and corked. Great to see this stuff available locally now.

Pours out a cloudy chestnut brown, almond highlights around the edges when held up to the light. Tall cinnamon toned head that recedes to a thick foamy cap. Sticky, spongy lacing.

The nose on this stuff is delightful and somewhat of an enigma, so many sweet smells coming off of it. Grapes right up front, green apples, hazelnuts, vanilla, nutmeg, and peeled madarin are what I've managed to decipher thus far. Red strawberry licorice and hints of bubblegum, like the blue bubblegum kind of ice cream.

Creamy texture, as well as flavour to this Xmas ale. Rich malt and vinuous notes up front. Low warming alcohol. Dates, figs and raisins in the middle, then finishing akin to the flavour of an old fashioned orange cream soda, soft mandarin blended with whipped vanilla. An Xmas ale indeed. This stuff is like candy, simply well-veiled high octane candy.

As mentioned above, mouthfeel is creamy, silky, like a magic carpet that rolls across your palate. Just a bit of an alcohol bite on the finish to snap one out of a revelry, and politely remind them of the consequences in store waiting for them after finishing a whole bottle of this by themself. Might as well enjoy the fun now while it lasts...

This stuff is deceptively drinkable, an absolute pleasure to imbibe. Mommy I want more! Best to stock some of this away to share with special people on special occassions, it's just not for Xmas anymore. Wow. I haven't felt this happy drinking a beer since my last bottle of Unibroue 10.

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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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