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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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BA SCORE
89
very good
484 Reviews
THE BROS
67
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:
484
Ratings:
838
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.1%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
98
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 484 | Ratings: 838
Photo of weeare138
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

 556 characters

Photo of jeffaz02t
4/5  rDev +0.5%
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 +1.3%
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.

 856 characters

Photo of IntriqKen
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mmmmm....
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.
<grin>

 722 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
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 +13.1%
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%
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.

 528 characters

Photo of petemoss14
4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
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!

 1,036 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

 352 characters

Photo of jdhilt
4.62/5  rDev +16.1%
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 +10.6%
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.

 1,596 characters

Photo of rarevos
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into goblet.

A: Pours a cherry-tinted brown with light tan head. Head is fleeting, leaving just a thin crown. A few bubbles are visible only if it's near light. It's opaque otherwise.

S: Bit of vinousness up front, and very sweet, dark fruit underneath that. Estery. A little woody.

T/M: Sweet, ripe, dark fruit. Plums. Figs. Cherries. Then apricots, which are (I know) not dark. But they're here anyway. Brown sugar. Bit of a balsamic vinegar thing going on behind that. Finish is apricot and licorice. There's a warming alcohol kick at the end, so I'm thinking a little time in the cellar would help this boy out.

D: This is a one-and-done beer for me because of the abv, but is certainly something I'd get again. Is a nice change of pace from Christmas beers that load up on the nutmeg and cinnamon. I'm going to buy up a few bottles and stick 'em in the cellar for next Christmas.

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

In true Gouden Carolus brand fashion, the namesake carries a breath of flavor that's equally as succulent, rich, and drinkable as their Cuvee van der Kiaser- exceeding expectations.

Upon the pour, the beer revealed a deep brown, solid ruby hue, with a mild murky translucency. The head retention was uncanny, with a great ability to lace.

Aromas are big, plump character of malt, berries, fruit, earthyness, and mustiness. Flavors are sweetly malty, toasty, tart, sweet, fruity (plumbs, dates, figs, grapes...) woody, nutty....I could go on for hours. The beer just has a tremendous amount of complexity and well balanced to boot.

The texture is a soothing, alcoholiclly thinned, mildly tart, rich, mouth filling roundness. Finishes with a balanced dryness and sweetness and a lingering grape, malt flavor.

This one is certainly a classic. Possibly even better than the Kaiser.

 884 characters

Photo of bark
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before “09.08.08”, I’ll guess that I have stored this bottle in my larder for one or two years.

The hazy liquid is deep amber-brown; the enormous beige compact foam sinks slowly while making a loud fizzing sound and leaving massive lacing.

The strong smell is drier and more hoppy than expected. Rich, spicy wine-like flavours hits the nose; matured sherry, fresh apricots, alcohol (quite a lot of it, actually), nutmeg, sweet raisins, hazelnuts and almonds and a touch of banana peels.

The first sip is sweet and mild like strawberry syrup, but then an alcoholic bomb explodes in my mouth: Bittersweet matured notes like red apples, peach, treacle, malt vinegar, caraway… The lasting aftertaste is sweet with matured notes of old strong wine and some minerals (a hint of iodine).

The carbonation is medium strong with lots and lots of minimal tickling bubbles. The liquid is smooth and a little bit thick.

Once again I must admit that this is a grand beer indeed. A little less carbonation and alcohol and it would have been perfect.

 1,062 characters

Photo of Foxman
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a hazy, almost murky tea brown. Two fingers of soft beige head slinks away swiftly to mere traces of itself. Little bits of lacing nibble the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, a roasted malt sweetness manages to flash toffee and plum before esters and spices toss about green apple, banana, clove, and coriander. Alcohol is plenty swarthy.

Upon sipping, the malt is toasty and fruit sweet, with sloe, dark cherry, and dates, along with toffee and biscuit. A lightly peppery spiciness augments clove and anise. A very warm alcohol vent clears the air for some residual grain sweetness. The finish is briefly phenolic and lastingly crisp and dry. It's a nicely complex and very well blended Belgian blast.

Medium bodied, the grain is slick and coating and the crisp spiciness is fittingly lively.

I passed this up on Christmas for something else I cannot recall. I would not have forgotten this. It's not really spectacular, but rather it's a zesty Belgian Yule celebration. The ABV is as it should be, big and glowing, but it warms and wraps and works as a nice cozy bonus. Next year this beer will be sure to garner holiday billing.

 1,158 characters

Photo of elricorico
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before says 03/08/09, unless Alberta received old beer, this is the 2006 edition. I've yet to be disappointed by this brewery, so I was really looking forward to this one.

In the glass this beer is the colour of a brown crayon. No head could be coaxed out of it. Not exciting, but nice enough colour.

The smell is fruity and has a spicy alcohol kick to it. Red licorice sweetness, cherries and grapes. Pleasant to smell over and over.

Smooth and warm in the mouth, the alcohol is there but not biting at all. Malty sweet, red licorice and raisins. Slightly spicy finish, and faint coffee rests in the lingering flavour.

Dangerously drinkable, slightly thinner than I expected, but still very smooth. Het Anker is still yet to disappoint. I plan on aging a couple of bombers of this one.

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Photo of zuggy9
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love this Belgian ale. It pours dark coppery-brown, with a nice beige head and great lacing. The smell is rich and strong. A lot of malt and fruit is apparent, with some sharp qualities. The taste is rich also, with a dense sweetness mixed with some fruit. It's quite creamy and is very full bodied. Very drinkable, despite knocking you for a loop with the 10.5% ABV. I can't wait for next season!

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Photo of shirfan
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice: ruby-brown with very little head.

Mild pear, sawdust, dusty yeast in the nose. Not especially pungent.

Taste is good, but a bit subdued. Nothing really "pops", although this makes for a nicely balanced beer. Slightly sour, oaky notes prevail, almost a bit wine-like. Black cherry and brown pear. Not especially sweet, and there's a slightly medicinal note in the finish.

High carbonation, fairly well-hidden ABV. Complex, unusual flavors make this a good choice for slow sipping.

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Photo of russpowell
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle pours deep chesnut (garnet when held to the light) with 2 fingers of sand colored head. Very good lacing & head retention

S: Bannanas, iron, alcohol & breaddy notes

T: Chocolate, bannanas, cakeyness, & a kiss of earthy hops up front. Oak, caramel, tannins & pine follow. Fruitty notes come through as this warms (pears, peaches, & berrys) with mucho warmth. Finishes, dry,oaky, fruitty & with a little hint of bananna split, plus a little licorice aftertaste!

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, with a little chewyness

Super drinkability for the abv! This a interesting/complex, beautiful winter warmer that is helping fight off the chill here! One of the better x-mas begians I've tasted, If not the best

 736 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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Photo of doubleipa
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quarter inch haed tha's gone in a minute. Very bark brown. Could smell this bad boy from 2 feet away. Light yeast, light bread, and light maltiness. Strong cherry, with maybe a hint of allspice and vanilla. Moderate alcohol taste. Good, but not outstanding as a "Christmas" beer.

 279 characters

Photo of Pepeton
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Found and stored a few 330 ml. bottles of this one since late November for the holidays.

Amuses me that the label bears a Santa Claus on a sleigh pulled by horses instead of reindeers. Nice indeed.

Has a best before date of 2009.

Appearance is of dark mahogany, with deep red hues; beautiful tan head and an apparently everlasting lacing.

Smell is very complex, with a full malt backbone, but a lot of ripe fruit, like raisins, plums, also a spiciness that resembles me black pepper and, naturally, alcohol.

Taste is as complex as smell, even more. It's almost chewy, with a dark fruit pudding taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy; proudly bears whole body; with a buttery aftertaste. Round and balanced, has a nice unabashed bitter ending.

This beer is indeed an outstanding example for the style.

I have to go for more and stock 'em in my cellar (the back of my closet) for years to come.

¡Salud!

 916 characters

Photo of dgallina
3.03/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml corked and caged brown bottle. No date on cork or bottle.

Pours almost clear red-tinged chestnut. Little head and thin lace, but relatively good carbonation for a strong aged ale. Pretty strong smelling. Lots of alcoholic grape bubble gum, banana, black pepper in the nose. Bitter-sweet tasting. Heavy bubble gum stickiness vies uneasily against spiced medicinal alcohol notes. Some toasted malt shows through in the finish, but not enough to offset the tenacious bubble gum. Body is heavy and limp; sticky and not very exciting. I don't particularly enjoy the other Gouden Carolus beers, and this one is in the same mould.

 632 characters

Photo of ojiikun
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a bottle of this in November as a christmas present to myself. Being probably the most pricey brew I've ever had, expectations are high.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tupil glass. Strongly carbonated - the cork nearly came out on it's own. Well-controleld head that can be coaxed up with swirling - plenty of potential but no mess. Body is dark reddish-brown, beautifully translucent but not chunky. Champagne bubbles play along the sides for the whole bottle.

Smell is intensely of sweet bubblegum, cardamom, bread, pears, caramel and too many other complexities to list. Notably absent is a strong hop smell of any sort. Nothing but candi sugar and yeasty malts. The sweetness suggests the alcohol content to the beer-wise, but the booze itself is well-masked.

Taste is briefly sweet, then more on the peppery, dry side. Deep and balanced spice and citrus notes. Never tart or bitter, despite the complexity. The bubblegum flavour nearly conflicts at this point, but fades by the end of the sip. As the bottle warms, the belgian yeast really opens up.

Mouthfeel is silky, sparkly, and clean. Leaves the palate incredibly clean and ready for more. I imagine this could pair well with many foods, if it weren't such a waste of a gourmet brew.

Incredibly drinkable for over 10%. Probably dangerous to have more than one bottle in the house!

Smell and taste are exciting, but taste is actually unremarkable. However, the experience of a beer this drinkable and this strong is something to be sought. A near-perfect expression of the concept of very strong beers, suited for both the newcomer and the snob alike.

 1,639 characters

Photo of fido
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a nice red amber color, Short head and a little bit of lace; Smell is fruity, very nice aroma; Taste is sweet, flavor of caramel or honey, fruits and malt; Mouthfeel is dry; Drinkability is good, easy to drink.

Nice Chrtistmas brew.

¡Feliz Navidad!

 264 characters

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.98 out of 5 based on 838 ratings.
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